Anxiety Treatments: Information & Services

Anxiety is a natural and often necessary human response to stress or danger. It is a feeling of unease, worry, or fear that arises when we perceive a threat or when we're faced with uncertain or challenging situations. While some level of anxiety is normal, and helps in preparing us to respond to potential threats, excessive or persistent anxiety can become an intrusive issue that holds us back in life.

Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health disorders in the UK, and help is available to support those who are struggling.

Learn more about types of anxiety disorders, and anxiety treatment options, such as therapies and medications, with Maudsley Private Care.

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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion that we feel when we are stressed, tense, or afraid, usually about things that are about to happen, or that we think might happen in the future. Most of us will feel anxious at times, especially when we’re coping with big life changes, or stressful events.

Anxiety becomes a mental health problem when you experience heightened and prolonged feelings of anxiety that can interfere with your daily life, to a point where you can’t live as freely as you’d like to. At this level, what was natural anxiety can become an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders can manifest in various forms, such as

  • generalised anxiety disorder (constant worry about everyday life)
  • panic disorder (sudden and intense episodes of fear)
  • social anxiety disorder (intense fear of social situations)
  • specific phobias (intense fear of specific objects or situations)

However, please remember that it's also possible to experience problems with anxiety without having a specific diagnosis, which is just as deserving of help and support.

Physical symptoms often accompany anxiety, and you may experience:

  • increased heart rate 
  • rapid breathing 
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • muscle tension
  • sense of restlessness

Cognitive symptoms can also include

  • racing thoughts
  • excessive worry
  • difficulty concentrating
  • an inability to relax

If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, multiple cognitive and physical symptoms can occur simultaneously and intensely, for prolonged periods of time, and has the potential to result in panic attacks.

The cause of anxiety disorders can be down to a combination of things, being; genetics, environment, and psychological factors. Traumatic experiences, chronic stress, a family history of anxiety or other mental health disorders, and imbalances in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) can also contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.

If you or someone you know is experiencing panic attacks or other symptoms of anxiety, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Support is available here at Maudsley Private Care, with treatment options, such as therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, to help manage and reduce the frequency and intensity of your anxiety and panic attacks.


How is an Anxiety Disorder diagnosed?

Making the first steps towards receiving help for problems with anxiety can be daunting, but it’s a brave and necessary journey to take back control of your life’s potential.

For a diagnosis, a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed therapist, will walk you through a comprehensive assessment. The assessment is used to gain a better understanding of not just your symptoms, but who you are as a person, and to help determine what the next best steps are for your mental health journey.

Here's an overview of what to expect from the diagnosis process:

Step 1: Assessment

The assessment will seek to understand your problems, the impact on your life, other associated symptoms or issues. It will also involve a mental health history (including what has been tried before, medication and therapy or other options), medical history, family history, life circumstances (such as work, relationships, education), enquiring about drugs or alcohol and a personal history (life story and past experiences).

Remember to answer all questions as openly and honestly as you can – your clinician is there to listen to you and help you, without judgement.

Step 2: Further Information

Your clinician may ask to gather information from other sources, which can include medical records, discussions with other health professionals, and sometimes loved ones. This will always be discussed with you first.

Step 3: Investigations

Your clinician will consider if blood tests or scans may be needed to aid the diagnosis.

Step 4: Making a Diagnosis

The clinician will draw everything together to make a diagnosis that helps you get the right care for you. Don’t be worried if the diagnosis is different to what you may have expected, as your clinician will also consider a 'differential diagnosis' ie. other conditions that cause similar problems. Your diagnosis is considered as part of a 'formulation', which means understanding you as a whole person to help develop a care plan personalised to your needs.

Step 5: Discussion and explanation

Your clinician will explain their thinking and discuss the diagnosis, formulation, and care plan with you in a collaborative way, that keeps you at the centre of your own mental health journey.

Step 6: Continued Support

Ongoing openness to revising the diagnosis, formulation, and recommendations to ensure your care meets your future needs.

At Maudsley Private Care, our team of dedicated clinicians are on hand to talk to you about your symptoms and experiences with compassion and understanding. We offer the UK’s adults and children person-centred mental health services, with the aim of providing specialised support and bespoke treatment plans.

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Anxiety treatment options

Anxiety can be treated through a combination of approaches, tailored to a person’s specific needs and severity of symptoms. In many cases, a combination of therapies, medications, and lifestyle changes can yield the best results in managing and alleviating anxiety.

Here are some of the most common methods used to treat anxiety in the UK:

Psychotherapy (talking therapy)

●  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) : This is a widely used approach that helps people identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to their anxiety. Ultimately, cognitive behavioural therapy aims to teach coping strategies and techniques to help you independently manage anxious thoughts and reactions.

●  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Acceptance and commitment therapy ncourages people to accept their anxious thoughts and feelings while focusing on taking positive actions that align with their values.


●  Antidepressants: Certain types of antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are commonly prescribed to treat various anxiety disorders. These medications help regulate neurotransmitter levels in the brain and can alleviate symptoms over time. Antidepressants have a very complex relationship with the brain, and not all antidepressants work in the same way (just like our brains), so your doctor will help you find the right option based on your specific situation.

●  Benzodiazepines: These medications are used for short-term relief of severe anxiety or panic attacks. However, they are prescribed very cautiously, with regular check-ins, due to the high risk of dependence development and potential side effects.

Lifestyle Changes

● Regular Exercise: Physical activity can help reduce anxiety by releasing endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. Exercise also promotes better sleep and overall well-being.

● Healthy Diet: Nutrient-rich foods and a balanced diet can contribute to better mental health. Avoiding excessive caffeine and sugar can help prevent exacerbating anxiety symptoms.

● Adequate Sleep: Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and practising good sleep hygiene can positively impact anxiety levels.

● Stress Management Techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation can help manage stress and anxiety.

Mind-Body Therapies

● Yoga: Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

● Meditation: Mindfulness meditation and other forms of meditation can help individuals develop a greater awareness of their thoughts and emotions, reducing their impact on anxiety.

Support Groups

Participating in support groups or group therapy sessions with others who have similar experiences can provide a sense of community, understanding, and comfort. There are a number of charities and organisations dedicated to ensuring people suffering with anxiety know they’re not alone, such as:


How to access anxiety treatment in the UK?

The process will start with an appointment with your GP, who will talk to you about the thoughts and feelings (both emotional and physical) that you’re experiencing to assess your anxiety levels. From there, they will refer you to, either, the NHS or a private psychiatrist or therapist for an assessment. You can also self refer to local NHS talking therapies.

At Maudsley Private Care, we offer comprehensive in-person and online private anxiety assessments for UK residents, adults and children, carried out by one of our expert clinicians.

You might want to go private if:

  • the waiting list for an assessment with an NHS psychiatrist is too long, and you would like to talk to a psychiatrist quickly.
  • you're looking for a more varied choice of specialist treatment to create a truly bespoke treatment plan.
  • you need sustained, reliable support over a long period of time.

Our team of psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists are trained to the highest standards, with decades of experience in assessing and treating individuals with suffering anxiety from unique and complex backgrounds.

You can get in touch with our dedicated team directly on 020 3228 9880 for more information about anxiety treatments and therapies, and the assessment process.

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