CPFT service can help those with anxiety

Read Karen Adams' column on how to get support and treatment

CPFT service can help those with anxiety
19 July 2016

Help is available for those with anxiety says Karen Adams, a cognitive behavioural therapist with CPFT's Psychological Wellbeing Service

A recent report from the University of Cambridge said that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than men.

The study said that those under the age of 35 were particularly affected, while overall it is estimated that one in four people have anxiety.

It was an interesting report which raised awareness of a very important issue, and certainly got people talking – all good things. For me, the only surprise was that the one-in-four figure was so low.

I work as a therapist for CPFT’s Psychological Wellbeing Service which helps people overcome their mental health issues – including anxiety - and my feeling is that the numbers of people who could be affected is possibly higher.

That’s not meant to sound alarmist. It is just that we are better at recognising anxiety and treating it. It is also important to know that getting anxious can be perfectly normal. Anxiety alerts us to danger. This allows us to react quickly and protect ourselves. We can either freeze, fly, fight or submit.

Anxiety can keep us safe. Our bodies warning of potential danger may stop us from getting bitten by animals or catching diseases, for instance. The problem comes when anxiety takes over our lives and stops us doing the things we want to do.

Many things can cause us to feel anxious. We might be stressed about our health, work, finances or our families. Anxiety is an umbrella term used to describe different types of the condition.

For instance, we work with people who may get very anxious in social situations, experience obsessive compulsive disorder, extreme worry, difficulties overcoming traumatic events or panic.

Whatever prompts their anxiety such a surge of adrenaline can cause physical symptoms including tremors, sweating, muscle tension, a fast heartbeat, and fast breathing. This can lead to chest discomfort, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, dizziness, and faintness. This can be very uncomfortable and unsettling for people.

The good news is recovery is perfectly possible. At the Psychological Wellbeing Service, my colleagues and I can help people develop all kind of coping skills. Our work involving the use of cognitive behaviour therapy can help people understand and learn to manage their anxiety.

We have recently started a group called compassion-focused cognitive behavioural therapy. This group targets self-critical thinking which we believe contributes to a lot of anxiety and low mood. We help clients understand the function of anxiety and find ways of managing it by learning to develop what is called the soothing system. The interesting thing is that in our group we have only women, though it is also open to men.

Overall, perhaps it’s not women who suffer more from anxiety, they are just better at expressing their feelings.

I would urge anyone – male or female – to contact the Psychological Wellbeing Service via the CPFT website or by calling 0300 300 0055. It’s a NHS service, it’s free, and it could help you as well.

Ends

This column was written by CPFT and first appeared in the Cambridge News on Monday, 18 July 2016

For more information please contact:

Andy Burrows
Communications Manager
E andy.burrows@cpft.nhs.uk
T 01223 726767

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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