“I worry too much”
“I’m always stressed”
“I keep having panic attacks”
Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 7 people in Australia each year. Stress, worry, fear and panic are words that describe anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion. But, if it happens too often it can be distressing and disabling. All anxiety disorders involve fear of something, and this often leads people to avoiding things that trigger the fear.
People with one type of anxiety disorder often have symptoms of another type of anxiety disorder. You can learn more about anxiety disorders by selecting a statement in the table below.
Typical Forms of Anxiety
“GAD ” I worry about everything.
“Social Phobia ” I wish I was comfortable talking to others or speaking in public.
“Panic Disorder ” I don’t know why the panic happens, but I worry I’m going to have a heart attack, lose control, or die.
“OCD ” I have upsetting thoughts and feel like I need to do specific things so that nothing bad happens.
“PTSD ” I get really worked up and upset every time I think of what happened to me.”
We believe it is essential that people learn to recognise their own symptoms of anxiety. This helps people to identify targets to work on in treatment and also helps people who have recovered recognise early warning signs of a relapse. Please note that it is important that you see your doctor for a check-up to rule out other causes for these symptoms.
The Effect of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders affect a person’s mood, self-esteem, and quality of life. Many people with mild anxiety can still work, study, and have healthy relationships, but this is harder for people with moderate or severe anxiety. Anxiety often restricts what people do and when they do it. Many people become worried that they can’t control their anxiety, and may become worried that they will become isolated, lonely, or depressed. People with one type of anxiety often also have symptoms of another type of anxiety, and depression is also common. Unfortunately, because of their symptoms, many people with anxiety don’t seek help from health professionals.
When people have severe anxiety they often also develop symptoms of depression including feeling helpless, hopeless and suicidal. If you are having such thoughts please urgently contact your GP, another health professional, or your local mental health team. And, in a crisis, dial 000. Remember, anxiety and depression can be treated.
Treatment for Anxiety
The good news is that anxiety disorders can be treated, regardless of age. We believe that the best treatments involve learning about your symptoms, learning how to control those symptoms, and gradually resuming your usual activities. Learning to beat anxiety takes courage, commitment, and practice, but many people successfully learn to overcome their symptoms.