A psychologist can also help a person to manage other problems that may be associated with the trauma, such as depression, stress, drug and alcohol use, or relationship problems. Psychologists usually see clients individually, but can include family members to support treatment where appropriate. Psychologists sometimes offer group therapy, involving a small number of people with similar issues. If you are referred to a psychologist by your GP, you might be eligible for a Medicare rebate.
Ask your psychologist or GP for details. Access thousands of psychologists across Australia. Search for:. Psychology topics. Very frightening or distressing events may result in a psychological wound or injury. This trauma can result in difficulty in coping or functioning normally. Some people experience problems directly after the traumatic event or much later.
Key points Potentially traumatic events are powerful and upsetting incidents that intrude into daily life. Situations and events that can lead to psychological trauma include: acts of violence such as an armed robbery, war or terrorism natural disasters such as bushfires, earthquakes or floods interpersonal violence such as rape, child abuse, or the suicide of a family member or friend involvement in a serious motor vehicle or workplace accident Other stressful situations which appear less severe may still trigger traumatic reactions in some people. Symptoms Many people have strong emotional or physical reactions following experience of a traumatic event.
Cognitive thinking symptoms can include intrusive thoughts and memories of the event, visual images of the event, nightmares, poor concentration and memory, disorientation and confusion. Behavioural symptoms can include avoidance of places or activities that are reminders of the event, social withdrawal and isolation and loss of interest in normal activities. Emotional symptoms can include fear, numbness and detachment, depression, guilt, anger and irritability, anxiety and panic.
The Psychology of Physical Symptoms
Strategies to manage trauma There are a number of ways you can help look after yourself after a traumatic event or situation: Recognise that you have been through a distressing experience and give yourself permission to experience some reaction to it. Don't be angry with yourself for being upset Remind yourself that you are not abnormal and that you can and are coping Avoid overuse of alcohol or other drugs to cope Avoid making any major decisions or life changes Do not try to block out thoughts of what happened. Gradually confronting these thoughts will assist you in coming to terms with the traumatic experience.
Share your experiences with others when opportunities arise. Anxiety is highly treatable, and doctors usually recommend a combination of some of the following:. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U. It causes both physical and psychological symptoms, and it can be very distressing.
Long-term anxiety increases the risk of physical illnesses and other mental health conditions, such as depression. However, anxiety can respond very well to treatment. Most people who receive treatment recover well and can enjoy a good quality of life.
Article last reviewed by Wed 18 July All references are available in the References tab. Anxiety disorders. Blumenthal, J. Risk factors: Anxiety and risk of cardiac events.
Nature Reviews Cardiology , 7 11 , — Kabra, N. Indian Journal of Psychiatry , 55 1 , 77— Lee, S. The effect of emotional stress and depression on the prevalence of digestive diseases. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility , 21 2 , — MLA Leonard, Jayne. MediLexicon, Intl. APA Leonard, J.
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Send securely. Message sent successfully The details of this article have been emailed on your behalf. Reviewed by Timothy J. Table of contents What is an anxiety disorder? Excessive worry and nervousness are characteristics of anxiety. Dizziness and lightheadedness are potential symptoms of anxiety. How to treat anxiety naturally. Furthermore, many persons who experience panic attacks display irregular breathing patterns when resting quietly and when sleeping, and some are likely to engage in avoidance behaviour in an attempt to prevent placing themselves in situations that could precipitate an attack.
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Panic attacks may form part of a more significant anxiety-related condition called panic disorder. There appear to be genetic factors that increase susceptibility in some individuals.
Physical health and mental health
Genetic defects in neurochemical messenger systems in the brain have been implicated in panic. For example, decreased levels of receptors for a neurotransmitter called serotonin , as well as decreased levels of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid, have been identified in the brains of people affected by panic attacks. Scientists also have proposed a suffocation false alarm theory, in which signals about potential suffocation arise from physiological and psychological centres involved in sensing factors associated with suffocation, such as increasing carbon dioxide and lactate levels in the brain.
People affected by panic disorder appear to have an increased sensitivity to these alarm signals, which produce a heightened sense of anxiety. This increased sensitivity results in misinterpretation of nonthreatening situations as terrifying events. Treatment for panic attacks typically includes cognitive therapy, in which patients learn skills that help them to cope with and to thwart an attack. Examples of skills that are effective in avoiding panic attacks when symptoms begin to appear include blocking thoughts associated with irrational fears, engaging in conversation with another person, and concentrating on a single repetitive task.
Whereas many people can be treated through cognitive therapy alone, some patients require pharmacotherapy. For example, tricyclic antidepressants , monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be effective treatments for patients who experience frequent panic attacks. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval.
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