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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Do I have anxiety?

    I always have a nervous feeling even when I'm about to meet good friends, or even waiting for the doctor. If my boss or people in a higher position talk to me, I always feel uneasy and go bright red. It's extremely annoying, and I would love for it to stop. Will the dr prescribe me medication or will I have to see a counsellor? I would prefer to just get medication and continue with my everyday life rather than seeing a counsellor.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Gareth Hobbs

    Psychologist

    Located in Albany and Mt Barker in Western Australia, Brief Intervention Counselling (BIC) provides confidential, affordable and time limited psychological interventions for depression, anxiety and … View Profile

    Without doing a more thorough assessment, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of what is happening for you.

    Anxiety is the most common mental health concern and it is treatable.

    Anxiety is a normal response to a perceived threat and basically is a mechanism that prepares you to run or fight. When there is a threat, the changes that occur increase your chances of survival. Unfortunately anxiety can be quite uncomfortable when it occurs out of context, in the absence of any real threat.

    One of the key treatment targets for anxiety is breathing. Anxiety results in a range of physiological changes in your body and these changes start with changes in your breathing. Sometimes without you noticing, your breathing might speed up and/ or become very shallow. This change triggers a host of other changes, including going “bright red”. When I get anxious, I focus on emptying my lungs completely when I breathe out, and then allow my lungs fill by themselves.

    As far as medication for anxiety goes, there are few issues for you to consider. I recommend talking to your doctor about these. Keep in mind that emotions do not cause harm directly, they’re just uncomfortable and painful at times. Attempts to avoid emotions often cause problems.

    If you are not keen to see a counsellor, perhaps you might find it helpful to work through a series of modules on social anxiety. The first module can be found here:
    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7079586/Published/Social%20Anxiety%20Module%201.pdf

    The remaining modules can be found on the Centre for Clinical Interventions website: http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au


  • Renee Mill

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Empowering people is my passion and life work. I have been working as a Clinical Psychologist in private practice for over thirty years. I have … View Profile

    It is not pleasant to have a nervous feeling or to blush. However, in my opinion, these symptoms are easily manageable and should not have you running to your doctor for medication.  Medication is reserved for severe cases of anxiety and the benefits need to be weighed up carefully.

    Nor do you need to attend counselling. I am not sure why you are resistant to counselling - perhaps you do not want to dredge up  the past or face issues at this time. That is OK, for  counselling to be effective you need to  be ready and willing to face difficult feelings.

    For your symptoms, you can "heal thyself" with breathing, mindfulness and relaxation methods. If you do some research on the web, you will find apps on mindfulness that will assist you. You will also find free online courses for anxiety which  have relaxation exercises and other useful tips. 

    Learning to tolerate the distress of  your symptoms (rather than trying to medicate them away) will go a long way to assisting you to move forward. 

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