Anxiety is one of the most common forms of mental illness affecting nearly all people at some stage in their life.|
However some people will experience either more frequent occurrences of anxiety, prolonged or extended periods of anxiety, or severe anxiety attacks.
A feeling of anxiety is a normal feeling that we get when faced with danger, fear or a threat. Feelings of anxiety can be caused
by many different social, emotional and physical factors, some of these may be; job loss, relationship breakdown, serious illness, a major accident or
death of someone close.
When anxiety negatively affects our ability to function in our daily lives, it is a good idea to seek professional help!
There are many different forms of anxiety disorders. These include:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
There are no specific causes of anxiety disorder, however some triggers may include personality, learnt response, heredity, and biochemical processes.
Anxiety due to personality may mean that the person is more sensitive or emotional about issues, even if the issues are not directly related to the person.
A learnt response can mean that the sufferer has been exposed to either a situation, people or objects that were upsetting or aroused anxiety, the sufferer may develop an anxious response when face with, or thinking about he same issues.
A heredity anxious response can be the result of anxiety running in the family. People may also "learn" anxious responses from family.
Biochemical processes, although not proven, may be the result of chemical processes in the brain not functioning as required.
The signs and symptoms of anxiety can include:
Excessive anxiety interfering with many areas of life
Shortness of breath
Stomach and bowel problems
Feelings of imminent danger
Inability to relax
Lack of enjoyment
Difficulty controlling worry
Diagnosis of an anxiety disorder usually occurs when the feelings of anxiety are beginning to interfere with the person's daily activities. An anxiety disorder usually begins in early adulthood and begins following a series of significant life changing or life affecting events.
Diagnosis is extremely important with any illness, but especially important with anxiety disorders.
The sooner treatment of an anxiety disorder can begin, the sooner the disturbance and disruption of normal life can end.
You may find it helpful to complete a Depression & Anxiety Screening Questionnaire and take this with you to discuss
with your doctor or other healthcare professional.
Treatment of an anxiety disorder can involve medication or specific forms of psychotherapy. Medications generally do not cure the anxiety, although they can relieve the sufferer from the symptoms. There are many different types of anti-anxiety medication, therefore if one does not suit, there are many others that the prescribing doctor can try. You can find information on some of the medications currently prescribed for anxiety in our medications section.
The main forms of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety are usually behavioural therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Behavioural therapy uses different techniques to alleviate the anxiety. This type of therapy may include things like breathing exercises or gently introducing the object or item that produces the anxiety attacks.
Whereas cognitive behavioural therapy, although using some of the same techniques as behavioural therapy, also teaches people how to change their thinking patterns. Cognitive behavioural therapy can change thoughts like "I'm going to die" into thoughts of "I can handle this".
The following are some research articles relating to anxiety:
An overview of generalized anxiety disorder:
disease state - appropriate therapy
Do anxiety and depression have a
common pathophysiological mechanism?
The functional anatomy, neurochemistry,
and pharmacology of anxiety
Treatments that work in anxiety disorders
Benzodiazepines in anxiety disorders: managing therapeutics and dependence
For more information about Anxiety,
Blackmores have put together some information on anxiety for depressioNet.
We have an anxiety Fact Sheet prepared by the NSW Mental Health Association Inc
The Anxiety Disorders Clinic at St Vincent's Hospital in
Sydney have general information regarding anxiety and anxiety related disorders.
Radio National discusses
High Anxiety in relation to flying
ADAVIC provide comprehensive information on
Generalised Anxiety Disorder and other related conditions
The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care have a handy
Brochure about Anxiety Disorders.
There is also a Health Translations Online Directory that enables you, health practitioners, and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find reliable translated health information.
The Directory provides web links to online multilingual resources across the health sector including government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals, community health centres and welfare agencies.
The factual information on this page was compiled from:
Health Information Library (http://www.beryl.net), Health Answers (http://www.healthanswers.com) and
Better Health Channel (http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au)