Personal Development: Is Anxiety All Bad?

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HEALTH ADVICE

NEGATIVE ASPECTS: Anxiety can take different forms: it can be acute, as in panic attacks, or it can be chronic and develop into psychosomatic illnesses, such as stomach ulcers or asthma; it can trigger avoidance behaviours such as social phobias. People who suffer from social phobias avoid encounters and public places, and it can hinder them from making friends.

BANISHING ANXIETY: The true definition of anxiety is fear without a reason. If we suffer from anxiety, be it acute, as in panic attacks, or chronic, as in social phobias, we should seek professional help. A psychologist or a psychiatrist may help us disentangle our feelings – something quite real is probably bothering us, deep down. We may be confronted by a difficult situation, which stirs up bad memories from the past.

Help will certainly come under the form of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can take different routes: it can try to lift a veil on our deepest feelings, such as in psychodynamic psychotherapy, and it can also help us develop healthier modes of relating to our lives, to our body, to our thoughts, as in cognitive behavioural therapy. The most important point is that we need to feel good in the care of our psychotherapist.

In some cases, a doctor – family doctor or a psychiatrist – may need to first prescribe some medication. It may be necessary, for example, to treat the depression which was the real source of panic attacks. In any case, if we suffer from anxiety without a valid reason for it, we should seek help – because it is available and we can get better.

Community Help Service is a non-profit organisation with a professional staff of psychologists, psychiatrists and educational specialists providing information, support and mental health services to anyone in Belgium, regardless of nationality, who needs help and prefers to speak English: www.chsbelgium.org