Young man anxiety

Understanding anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are common mental health problems that affect many people.

Approximately 25% of the population have an anxiety disorder that warrants treatment at some time in their life. Up to another 25% have less severe anxieties such as fear of spiders.

Having an anxiety disorder isn’t the end of the world. It’s the first step towards a solution, as anxiety disorders are among the most treatable and manageable of all mental health problems.

With the right support, you can learn to manage your anxiety and stop it taking over your life.

What is anxiety?

It’s extreme worry that interferes with our daily lives.

Symptoms include panic attacks, physical fear reactions and attempts to avoid the situation.

Anxiety disorders can lead to social isolation and depression. But the good news is help is available.

What types of anxiety are there?

There are several types of anxiety disorders, and some of these are listed below.

Your PVH Medical healthcare professional can help you to identify your symptoms.

  • Depression
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder.

You can read more information about the types of anxiety disorders here.

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

GAD is excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not for at least six months, about things like work or study performance, health, finances and family issues.

The worries are often about a variety of minor issues and events that are unlikely to occur.

GAD affects about 5% of the population. The onset of GAD can be at a relatively early age, with one-third of people with GAD experiencing onset in childhood or adolescence.

GAD is often chronic, but may have only a moderate impact on a person’s ability to function in daily life. Therefore, it often remains undetected.

Some symptoms of GAD include:

  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty in concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Shallow, uneven breathing
  • Sleep disturbance.

This checklist can help you determine if you’re experiencing symptoms of GAD.

Tips for managing anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic

Even if you’re not typically an anxious person, it’s common to feel some anxiety during periods of change or uncertainty like during the pandemic.

Here are some practical ways that you can keep feelings of anxiety at bay if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed.

  1. Channel your anxious energy into action, i.e. get informed and make a plan
  2. Limit or avoid unhelpful media and misinformation
  3. Cut down or stop the behaviours that are fuelling your anxiety
  4. Stay focused on the here and now, taking each day step by step
  5. Be aware of negative thoughts and don’t give them too much power
  6. Look after your body
  7. Stay connected with others
  8. Help other people, be kind and compassionate
  9. Take a breath
  10. If you’re feeling like you’re not coping, get professional help.

For more information about these tips, head over to Black Dog Institute.

Help is at hand

Our team of psychologists and doctors in Pascoe Vale can support you with anxiety disorders. If you need help, please make a booking today.

Further reading

Source: Anxiety Recovery Centre Melbourne and Better Health

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 24 September 2022.