Anxiety is a natural body and brain response. Anxiety disorders generally occur when anxiety begins to interfere with everyday functioning, like avoiding meeting friends or refusing to go to school. There are a number of physical symptoms of anxiety too, which can include rapid or pounding heart, shortness of breath, sweating, twitching, stomach cramps or upset tummy, insomnia or headache.
What causes anxiety?
Research has shown that there are a number of brain areas involved in anxiety. With anxiety disorders, these brain areas become dysfunctional and begin to interpret everyday events are threatening, thereby switching on the anxiety response. This same phenomenon, whereby the anxiety response becomes overly sensitive, is involved in panic disorder and post-traumatic stress.
It is important to remember that we are all different, and thus not everyone will experience the same symptoms. We all have different histories, different relationships, different coping mechanisms and psychological styles, and different brains and bodies. As such, it is there is no ‘one size fits all’ way of managing anxiety, but there are tried and tested methods which, when applied in the appropriate way, are very effective ways to overcome anxiety and provide some relief. This may include some combination of “talk therapies” like psychotherapy and counselling, skills learning like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and some intervention like neurofeedback or medication aimed at the brain basis of anxiety itself.
Regarding neurofeedback, it has been shown to be an effective intervention for anxiety disorders. The aim of neurofeedback is to increase your ability to control brain areas that generate anxiety, as well as increasing your ability to control other brain areas that regulate anxiety-producing areas. This may be combined with other psychological approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness, psychotherapy or counselling in a multi-disciplinary approach to offer the most effective and lasting solution to your anxiety. If you are worried your child may have an anxiety disorder, you can read more on the topic here and here.
As with all of our interventions, we personalise all our plans on the basis of a formulation by one of our Psychology Team alongside brain data from our Neuroscience Team.