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Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal human emotion. Many of us use words such as stressworryfear and panic to describe feelings of anxiety. No matter the words we use to describe it, most people will agree that anxiety causes some unpleasant symptoms. Because most of us feel anxious from time to time, we can recognise and relate to some of these symptoms.

Experiencing the occasional symptoms of anxiety is normal and nothing to worry about. However, if the symptoms happen too often, are severe or start to impact our lives, then it is important to act.

Symptoms of anxiety

When we experience anxiety, we are often affected by three types of symptoms; unhelpful thoughts, physical symptoms and unhelpful behaviours.

Worried lady

Unhelpful thoughts

  • Worrying about things that might happen or things that have happened in the past
  • Having negative thoughts about ourselves or the future
Worried man

Physical symptoms

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feeling sweaty or hot
  • Trembling
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Feeling irritable
Worried young woman

Unhelpful behaviours

  • Avoiding events, places or people that trigger feelings of anxiety
  • Only going places when accompanied by another person

When anxiety becomes a problem

There are differences between experiencing occasional feelings of anxiety and having an anxiety disorder. It is good to know these differences so we can recognise them in ourselves or a loved one and seek help when appropriate. It is important to remember that anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed by a registered and experienced health professional.

An anxiety disorder is diagnosed when symptoms of anxiety:

  • Are present for at least one month
  • Are severe
  • Happen too often, and
  • Affect a person’s ability to live the life they want

Anxiety disorders often restrict what people feel able to do. We know that many people with mild symptoms of anxiety still work, study and have healthy relationships, but this is harder for people with moderate and severe anxiety.

Some people with severe symptoms of anxiety have difficulty leaving the house or being alone. Some people with anxiety symptoms become worried that they can’t control their anxiety, and may become worried that they will become isolated, lonely or depressed. People with anxiety disorders also have a higher risk of depression and substance use problems than other people.

If you would like to know more about your emotional wellbeing or whether you have symptoms of anxiety, you can take our short quiz. Your results will not be shared with anyone.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders can have many unhelpful effects and stop a person from living the life they want. The good news is that anxiety disorders can be treated, regardless of age or how severe the symptoms.

Learning to beat anxiety takes courage, commitment and practice, but many people successfully learn to overcome symptoms of anxiety and anxiety disorders.

Psychological treatment programs such as those offered by MindSpot, can help people with anxiety disorders learn about their symptoms, learn skills for managing these symptoms, and then gradually resume their usual activities. Getting effective treatment for an anxiety disorder often also has the effect of reducing symptoms of other psychological disorders, such as depression.

Treatment programs can help people with different types of anxiety disorders:

  • General anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder

People who have symptoms of anxiety but do not have a full anxiety disorder, can also benefit from learning the skills taught in psychological treatment programs. This is known as early intervention. Early intervention can stop symptoms from becoming chronic and severe.

For more information about treatment options and assistance for anxiety:

  • Contact MindSpot contact@mindspot.org.au or call 1800 61 44 34 to discuss our assessment and treatment options or other services that may help
  • Talk to your GP
  • See a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another mental health professional

Types of disorders

"I worry about everything"
"I wish I was comfortable talking to others or speaking in public."
"I don’t know why the panic happens, but I worry I’m going to have a heart attack, lose control, or die."
"I have upsetting thoughts and feel like I need to do specific things so that nothing bad happens."
"I get really worked up and upset every time I think of what happened to me."

Managing anxiety

Anxiety disorders can have many unhelpful effects and stop a person from living the life they want. The good news is that anxiety disorders can be treated, regardless of age or how severe the symptoms.

Learning to beat anxiety takes courage, commitment and practice, but many people successfully learn to overcome symptoms of anxiety and anxiety disorders.

Psychological treatment programs such as those offered by MindSpot, can help people with anxiety disorders learn about their symptoms, learn skills for managing these symptoms, and then gradually resume their usual activities. Getting effective treatment for an anxiety disorder often also has the effect of reducing symptoms of other psychological disorders, such as depression.

Treatment programs can help people with different types of anxiety disorders:

  • General anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder

People who have symptoms of anxiety but do not have a full anxiety disorder, can also benefit from learning the skills taught in psychological treatment programs. This is known as early intervention. Early intervention can stop symptoms from becoming chronic and severe.

For more information about treatment options and assistance for anxiety:

  • Contact MindSpot contact@mindspot.org.au or call 1800 61 44 34 to discuss our assessment and treatment options or other services that may help
  • Talk to your GP
  • See a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another mental health professional

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