Our Talking Therapies services are available free to anyone over the age of 18 who is registered with a GP in Barking and Dagenham, Havering, and Redbridge
Our service can help people with a range of problems including:
Although commonly known as a fear of open spaces, Agoraphobia is characterised by fear or avoidance of specific situations or activities that the person worries may trigger panic-like symptoms, or from which the person believes escape might be difficult or embarrassing, or where help may not be available. Specific feared situations can include leaving the house, being in open or crowded places, or using public transport.
This disorder can cause significant restrictions on the way in which individuals lead their lives and, because of this, people may also be depressed. Depression arises from feeling as though you are powerless and have no control over this condition.
Body dysmorphic disorder
Characterised by a preoccupation with an imagined defect in one’s appearance or, in the case of a slight physical anomaly, the person’s concern is markedly excessive. Time consuming behaviours such as mirror-gazing, comparing features with those of others, excessive camouflaging tactics, and avoidance of social situations and intimacy are common, with a significant impact on the person’s levels of distress and/or occupational and social functioning.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Comprises a range of symptoms that include fatigue, malaise, headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulties with concentration and muscle pain. A person’s symptoms may fluctuate in intensity and severity, and there is also great variability in the symptoms different people experience. It is characterised by debilitating fatigue that is unlike everyday fatigue and can be triggered by minimal activity. Diagnosis depends on functional impairment and the exclusion of other known causes for the symptoms.
A mental health problem characterised by pervasive low mood, a loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things, and a range of associated emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms. Depressive episodes can vary in severity, from mild to severe.
Depression is a very common problem which many adults will experience at some time in their life. Do you feel negative about yourself, the world and the future? Have you noticed any of these other signs and symptoms? These are some of the signs or symptoms that you may experience if you are depressed:
- Feeling sad, guilty, numb or despairing
- Losing interest in things
- Crying a lot or feeling unable to cry
- Feeling alone
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite, eating and weight
- Losing confidence in yourself
- Poor memory or concentration
- Thoughts of suicide
- Thinking you hate yourself
Generalised anxiety disorder
Anxiety can feel like a fear and when it’s caused by a problem in our life that we can’t solve, such as money difficulties, we call it worry. If it is a sudden reaction to an immediate threat, like looking over a cliff or being confronted by an angry dog, we call it fear. Although these feelings are unpleasant, they exist for a purpose. Worry, fear and anxiety can all be helpful.
Psychologically – they keep us alert and give us the motivation to plan and to deal with problems
Physically – they prepare our body for sudden, strenuous exercise, to run away from danger or to attack it – the ‘fight or flight’ response.
These feelings become a problem when they are too strong, or when they carry on even when we don’t need them anymore. They can make you uncomfortable, stop you from doing the things you want to – and can generally make life difficult.
Some of the symptoms people experience are feeling worried, tired, and unable to concentrate, being irritable, sleep disturbance and feeling depressed. There are also a number of common physical reactions such as palpitations, muscle tension, breathing fast, faintness and trembling.
Health anxiety (hypochondriasis)
A central feature is a persistent preoccupation with the possibility that the person has, or will have, a serious physical health problem. Normal or commonplace physical symptoms are often interpreted as abnormal.
Irritable bowel syndrome
A common functional gastrointestinal disorder. It is a chronic, relapsing and often lifelong disorder, characterised by the presence of abdominal pain or discomfort associated with defaecation, a change in bowel habit together with disordered defaecation (constipation or diarrhoea or both), the sensation of abdominal distension and may include associated non-colonic symptoms. May cause associated dehydration, lack of sleep, anxiety and lethargy, which may lead to time off work, avoidance of stressful or social situations and significant reduction in quality of life.
Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder
A mild disorder. The diagnosis should not be used when an individual meets the criteria for a depressive disorder and one or more of the anxiety disorders above, such people should be described as being comorbid for depression and the relevant anxiety disorder(s).characterised by symptoms of depression and anxiety that are not intense enough to meet criteria for any of the conditions described above but are nevertheless troublesome.
MUS not otherwise specified
Distressing physical symptoms that do not have an obvious underlying diagnosis and/or pathological process.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
OCD affects people in a number of ways, such as the following:
What we think:
- Guilty thoughts
How we feel:
What we do:
- Seeking reassurance
Most people who have OCD find that there is a pattern in their thoughts, feelings and actions. They feel anxiety or discomfort at having the obsession and relief once they have carried out the compulsive act. This becomes a vicious cycle which strengthens itself and becomes more likely to happen again.
Panic disorder (with or without Agoraphobia)
A panic attack can usually last for only a few minutes, during which you feel overwhelmingly anxious, and terrified that something bad is happening to you.
Do you suddenly feel or notice any of the following?:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Heart palpitations
Or, do you notice that you have stopped doing things because of the above feelings?
You will usually try to get out of the situation that has brought it on. These feelings reach a peak and then pass off rapidly, leaving you feeling weak and exhausted.
Although these attacks are very alarming, they do stop on their own and cannot harm you physically.
You may experience a range of symptoms such as a shortness of breath, heart palpitations, trembling, feeling as though you are choking and sweating.
A panic disorder may be diagnosed when a number of panic attacks have been experienced and at least one of these has been followed by a persistent worry that you may have another.
A diagnosis of panic disorder is only made after any possible medical causes have been ruled out.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
n our everyday lives, any of us can have an experience that is overwhelming, frightening, and beyond our control. For example, we could find ourselves in a car crash, be the victim of an assault, or see an accident. Most people, in time, get over experiences like this without needing help. In some people, though, traumatic experiences set off a reaction that can last for many months or years.
There are three main types of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):
- Flashbacks and nightmares. You find yourself re-living the event, again and again. This can happen both as a ‘flashback’ in the day and as nightmares when you are asleep. Ordinary things can trigger off flashbacks.
- Avoidance and numbing. It can be just too upsetting to re-live your experience over and over again. So you distract yourself. You keep your mind busy by losing yourself in a hobby, working very hard, or spending your time absorbed in crosswords or jigsaw puzzles. You avoid places and people that remind you of the trauma, and try not to talk about it.
- Being ‘on guard’. You find that you stay alert all the time, as if you are looking out for danger. You can’t relax. This is called ‘hypervigilance’. You feel anxious and find it hard to sleep.
Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
The most common form of social phobia is a fear of speaking in public. Other social phobias include:
A fear of blushing in public
A fear of choking or spilling food whilst eating in public
A fear of crowds
A fear of using public toilets
People can also experience a number of physical symptoms such as a very dry mouth, sweating, palpitations, wanting to pass water or empty their bowels and a feeling of numbness or pins and needles in their fingers and toes.
Specific phobias are common and typically involve a strong fear and avoidance of one particular type of object or situation. The fear and avoidance typical of specific phobias can cause an individual significant distress and interfere with daily functioning and lead to increased anxiety.
Among the most common specific phobias are the following:
- Fear of animals
- Fear of heights
- Fear of flying
- Fear of lifts
- Fear of the doctor/dentist
- Fear of thunder and/or lightning
- Fear of blood, your own or others
- Illness phobia
Specific phobias are often childhood fears which were never outgrown, may develop after a traumatic event such as an accident, natural disaster, illness or for example, being bitten by an animal. These may also develop from the repeated observation of a parent or primary caregiver who also has a specific phobia.