Article in the Daily Mail by Lucy Elkins
– If you see a lion, your body will respond. Your heart rate will increase
– For anxiety sufferers response is real but there is nothing real to trigger it
– With social anxiety, 80 per cent recover with therapy (ten to 20 sessions)
For as long as she can remember, Amy Shortt’s life has been overshadowed by her anxieties.
These aren’t the little fears or niggles that bother us all from time to time; Amy lives with an almost permanent sense of dread that something awful is going to happen.
‘It hangs over me all the time,’ she says. ‘I worry about going out, what will happen as I drive to work and about what I’ve done during the day. While I try to laugh with work colleagues, inside I’m in pieces worrying about what might happen next.’
At times her fear is so intense that she feels dizzy and her palms become sweaty. Every few weeks or so she also suffers from panic attacks, when her heart starts to race and she fights for breath.
‘It can happen anywhere,’ she says. ‘The first time I was with Mum watching TV when I was suddenly overcome by this overwhelming sense of dread. I felt as if I was going to die.’
Amy – a funny, intelligent 29-year-old who is a support worker for young people – felt too ashamed to ask for help and for years has hidden the condition from all but her close family and boyfriend. ‘Even some of my best friends don’t know,’ she says.
Last year, she finally decided to see a GP. ‘It took me ages to pluck up the courage. I began by saying: “I have been feeling really anxious – I get sweaty, nervous and dizzy.”
‘Before I could say any more, she got up, shone a light in my ear and told me: “You’ve got a virus.” She told me to rest, and to come back if I didn’t feel any better.
‘I was stunned. All I could manage to say was: “I don’t think it is that.” I left feeling even more anxious than when I went in.’
Amy moved to another GP, but it was months before she could face going to see them. When she finally did, the GP diagnosed anxiety disorder and started the process of trying to find the right treatment for her.
As countless people like Amy have found, getting a diagnosis can be difficult. Indeed, such is the concern about this that last month the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued new standards to improve on the ‘poor’ recognition of anxiety disorders.
And even when sufferers are diagnosed, often they don’t get the right treatment.
Read full article here
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