What is meant by anxiety? Do I need help?
We all feel anxious at times. That is a normal part of life. You may have noticed that a little anxiety has actually motivated you to do well at times, or you may have experienced a general state of worry or fear before a challenging event such as an examination or an interview. These feelings are easily justified and considered normal. However, when the feelings of anxiety take over and prevent you from sleeping or otherwise functioning, and the reaction is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in the situation, then anxiety can be extremely debilitating, have a serious impact on your daily life, and the sooner you get help the sooner you will recover.
Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause a persistent feeling of uneasiness, fear, apprehension, and worry. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. These symptoms may include a rapidly beating heart, tightness in the chest, shakiness, lightheadedness, stomach discomfort, shakiness, shortness of breath. Psychological symptoms may include: difficulty sleeping, difficulty switching off, feeling worried much of the time, poor concentration, and a feeling of apprehension or doom.
Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders at times involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reaches a peak within minutes. This can be a sign that you are having a panic attack. Symptoms of a panic attack include: sweating, chest pain, palpitations (unusually strong or irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking. It can feel like you’re having a heart attack or “going crazy.”
Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood. At other times symptoms of anxiety may appear to come from “nowhere”. For some people there is a clear event which has triggered the anxiety – a job loss, the breakup of a marriage, financial difficulties. For others – life has just become too demanding and they feel overwhelmed by the demands. The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown, but they are not a result of personal weakness or character flaw.
Fortunately, effective evidence-based psychological therapy is available with good results.
Please call me . . . and let’s talk. I can help.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia with one in four people likely to experience anxiety at some time in their life (1) Research has shown that over two million Australians experience anxiety in a 12-month period (2)
(1) Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS
(2) Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS