Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.

Most people feel anxious at times. It's particularly common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a big impact on your life.

Anxiety can be experienced in lots of different ways. If your experiences meet certain criteria, your anxiety may be more than a passing phase and you may be diagnosed with a specific anxiety disorders.

Some commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalised anxiety disorders (GAD)

    this means having regular or uncontrollable worries about many different things in your everyday life. Because there are lots of possible symptoms of anxiety this can be quite a broad diagnosis, meaning that the problems you experience with GAD might be quite different from another person's experiences.

  • Social anxiety disorders

    this diagnosis means you experience extreme fear or anxiety triggered by social situations (such as parties, workplaces, or any situation in which you have to talk to another person). It is also known as social phobia.

  • Panic disorders

    this means having regular or frequent panic attacks without a clear cause or trigger. Experiencing panic disorders can mean that you feel constantly afraid of having another panic attack, to the point that this fear itself can trigger your panic attacks.

  • Phobias

    a phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as social situations) or a particular object (such as spiders).

  • Separation anxiety disorders (SAD) -

    Separation anxiety disorders (SAD), is an anxiety disorders in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (e.g., a parent, caregiver, significant other or siblings).

Anxiety | Psychiatrist Cape Town

If self-help resources aren't likely to help with the anxiety problems you're experiencing, or you've already tried them and they haven't helped, Dr. Kerryn Armstrong can offer you a talking treatment. There are two types of talking treatment recommended for anxiety and panic:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – this focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
  • Applied relaxation therapy – this involves learning how to relax your muscles in situations where you normally experience anxiety.

There are also certain medications that can improve anxiety symptoms as they occur. Dr. Armstrong will discuss these with you in detail and advise you of the best options for your unique case.