Anxiety and fear of the unknown

A spike in the number of people reporting significant levels of Anxiety immediately following the Prime Minister's announcement of a lockdown on 23 March, a study conducted by academics at the University of Sheffield and Ulster University has found.


The study reported 36% of study participants had experienced increased levels of Anxiety. Anxiety and the fear of the unknown is an impending sense of uncertainty or stress response to a perceived threat in the future. Considering the current lockdown state we are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a certain level of anxious feelings are expected.


But how much, is too much?

The brain and body are often caught up in feelings of tension, or a sense of unease that keeps the mind locked into a cycle of excessive worry, anticipation and panic. If you are experiencing the following symptoms more than half of the time, it may indicate that you require some support to help you to manage your Anxiety:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
  • Having an increased heart rate.
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry


Anxiety: In simple Terms

Anxiety is the mind and body's reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It is the sense of distress, unease or dread you feel before a significant event. There is a certain level of Anxiety which helps us stay alert and aware, but for those suffering from an anxiety disorder, it can be completely debilitating.

Anxiety can also be a raw, visceral sensation that convinces the person suffering Anxiety, they are about to become ill or befall harm. It can result in breathlessness, a feeling of being trapped, or you may notice your heart racing and imagine the worst possible outcome. This is when the anticipated event is being experienced "as if it were happening now", even though it isn’t.

Some people even play out a catastrophic event in their head or imagine scenes of conflict and engage in internal dialogue before speaking to someone they are about to confront.

Experiencing occasional Anxiety is a normal part of life and when considering the current pandemic is perfectly normal to experience. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. If the anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of extreme Anxiety and fear or terror, they can peak within minutes and result in a panic attack.


Finding ways of understanding and coping with Anxiety is important. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help to break the cycle of Anxiety and fear of the unknown.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help us slow-down and restore a sense of balance to our emotional states. It can teach us how to pay attention to our feelings and sensations in the present moment, rather than getting caught up in excessive preoccupations with the past or imagined future catastrophes.

 CBT can teach and show you how to manage unconscious impulses.  We can learn to be more aware of our unconscious triggers which may be caused by traumatic memories of the past; as well as learned avoidance behaviours that have become conditioned habits or deeply embedded defence mechanisms.

Learning techniques to break old habits and avoidance behaviours; learning to make better choices and using a wider range of alternative approaches to resolving our problems can offer tremendous benefits.

Efficacy's team of BABCP accredited CBT therapists can support you to take manageable risks, challenge and confront a degree of adversity to overcome fears. This increases our 'window of tolerance' for Anxiety and leads us back to a way of living without the stress our anxiety disorder brings to our daily lives.


How can Efficacy help to support you?

If you are struggling with your mental health, we are here to help. All our therapists are BABCP accredited, meaning they hold the highest gold standard a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist can be.

Below is a list of services provided to support you:

  • Online CBT programme - iCBT - Access an online portal which will allow you to work through your problems whenever suits you.
  • Remote CBT therapy - We can offer one-to-one therapy delivered through Skype, FaceTime or via telephone.

Please do not hesitate to call us on 0203 795 8718 or email if you want to discuss any of these options in more detail.


Real therapy. Real results.

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