A significant number of Australians experience symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of anxiety every year. People with anxiety often struggle with debilitating fears and worries that prevent them from living life to the fullest. As a result, people with anxiety can also develop other disorders such as depression or problems with the use of alcohol or other substances.

Symptoms of anxiety

  • Often feeling edgy, wound up or tense
  • Worrying more than other people
  • Having thoughts you can’t control
  • Being on a constant look-out for threats in your environment
  • Having difficulty relaxing or sleeping
  • Avoiding people and situations
  • Feeling panicky in some situations
  • Dizziness, tingling, nausea, sweating in the absence of physical exercise
  • Specific fears or phobias
  • Needing to check, count or clean things all the time
  • Fear of making a fool of yourself in front of other people or of being the centre of attention
  • Having health worries even when your doctor tells you nothing is wrong

There are a broad range of different types of anxiety:

  • Generalized Anxiety  – worrying excessively about a range of day to day concerns.
  • Panic  – an intense feeling of anxiety accompanied by physical symptoms that may prompt concerns about having a heart attack.
  • Phobias – having specific worry, for example, fear or flying, arachnophobia
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – having ongoing intrusive thoughts called obsessions, that make a person feel the need to carry out particular behavioural rituals called compulsions. Common obsessions focus on a fear of germs or contamination. Common compulsions include unwarranted checking or cleaning.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – a constellation of symptoms that occur in the wake of a traumatic event involving a life threatening situation or serious injury.

When to seek help

Seek help if symptoms have persisted for two weeks or if they are interfering with your normal day to day routines.

What to do next

  • Tell someone you trust what is going on.
  • Talk to your GP.
  • Contact psych180 with any queries or to organize a time to meet with one of our clinical psychologists.

How can a Clinical Psychologist help you?

Clinical psychologists provide the most appropriate evidence-supported treatment for the type of issue their client is experiencing. Psychotherapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Meta Cognitive Therapy (MCT) have been well researched and have a clear evidence base demonstrating their success in treating anxiety. When anxiety is more severe, medications prescribed by a GP or Psychiatrist may complement the psychological therapy.

CBT is based on the idea that a person can influence how they feel by being able to recognise and change unhelpful thinking and beliefs, and behaviours that prolong or exacerbate depression. MCT targets mental processes by examining meta-cognitive beliefs that maintain anxiety.