What is anxiety?
Feeling unsettled, worried, wound up, restless and on edge is a normal part of being human. We all have moments of stress that make our heart rate increase, our thoughts race and our hands sweaty. Say someone has a job interview and leading up to that they obsess over the details and feel tense and restless - this is ordinary anxiety. Ordinary anxiety is a feeling of fear that comes and goes, is usually as a result of a stressful event or situation and doesn’t seriously impact your life. It becomes an anxiety condition when these feelings are frequent and persistent, despite their being a stressful event and/or obvious challenge or not. It is when these thoughts or physiological responses are constant and get in the way of your work, your relationships, your friendships and quality of life.
What are anxiety disorders?
When the feeling of ‘fear’ is intense, debilitating, and with you all the time interfering with everyday life. It includes a few different disorders including panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder etc.
Anxiety statistics in Australia
1 in 4 Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime. Anxiety is more common in women than men. Anxiety affects 1 in 3 women versus 1 in 5 men (statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey ).
What are treatments for anxiety?
There are medical, psychotherapy and lifestyle treatment options available. For serious distress it’s best to contact your doctor who can explore options with you. For mild to moderate cases (i.e., feeling overwhelmed, worried, fearful, and apprehensive but not to the point where it’s significantly impacting your life) talking to a trained psychologist, counsellor or psychotherapist can help. A trained mental health professional can help unpack these anxious feelings and provide strategies to cope with the symptoms. The anxiety may or may not disappear, however, having tools to deal with it when it arises can help better manage it in day-to-day life.