Anxiety vs an anxiety disorder

Anxiety is a normal, healthy emotion we all experience from time to time. It has an evolutionary value in that it alerts us to danger or threat. However, for some people, their anxiety becomes disproportionate to what’s happening and they can find themselves feeling anxious without there being any clear trigger. This is when anxiety moves from a healthy response to stress to an anxiety disorder.


If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you might find yourself unable to stop worrying, living in a state of heightened stress. This can become an all-consuming experience that feels as though it has taken over your life.

What are the different types of anxiety?

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – If you suffer from GAD, you’re likely to feel anxious about most things rather than have a specific focus for your worries. This could have an effect on your concentration, sleep and appetite, and make it difficult to live life the way you’d like to.

 

Panic disorder – If you suffer from panic disorder, you might find yourself experiencing intense panic. This could be triggered by specific situations or be more generalised. Over time, people who suffer from panic attacks become anxious about experiencing another panic attack so the focus of the anxiety becomes the anticipation of anxiety. Panic disorder often involves physical symptoms of anxiety such as palpitations, dizziness, sweating and more.

 

Other forms of anxiety are health anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Types of treatment for anxiety

In the short term, anxiety can be regulated through medication. If this is something we think you could benefit from, we will set up an assessment for a psychiatric review.

 

However, in the long term, the most effective treatment for anxiety is therapy. The focus of your therapy will be on your thinking and how this influences your anxiety. You will also explore the different behaviours that maintain your anxiety and learn more effective coping mechanisms for dealing with anxious episodes.

 

Different approaches benefit different people. Following your initial assessment, we will recommend the approach we believe will most benefit you according to your symptoms and what’s at the root of your anxiety.

Frequently asked questions

If your anxiety has begun to interfere in your everyday life and relationships and it’s leaving you feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to seek professional help.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are generally the most effective treatments for anxiety.

By default, anxiety is characterised by a feeling of vulnerability in the world. When external events increase this feeling of threat, you may find that your anxiety symptoms get worse.

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.


Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr. Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.


Dr. Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.


She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.