Anxiety – that shivery feeling in your chest, and adrenaline running down through your fingers – no one enjoys it, but so many experience it.

Anxiety is defined as ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.’ But it’s not just feeling stressed or worried – it’s when these feelings don’t go away. It’s when they happen at a time that you wouldn’t expect to feel anxious – without reason or cause.

It’s also very very common – 1 in 4 Australians will experience it at some point in their life! The good news it that the sooner you get help with your anxiety, the more likely you are to recover.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between ‘normal anxiety’ and an anxiety condition. Normal anxiety is usually associated with an event or situation at a specific point in time. However, an anxiety condition is where the feelings of anxiety are persistent or frequent. They can effect your quality of life and how you function day to day. Each person may experience anxiety slightly differently, but Beyond Blue has summarized the common symptoms, which include:

  • Physical: panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy
  • Psychological: excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking
  • Behavioural: avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious which can impact on study, work or social life

Coping with Anxiety

What kind of treatments are there for anxiety?

There are many different kinds of treatments, which can be explored depending on what kind of anxiety you’re facing.

Things you could try through the support of a health professional, such as a GP include:

  • Lifestyle changes – Physical exercise, meditation
  • Psychological treatments / talking therapies – To help support you through your experience of anxiety and teach you tools and habits to help to reduce worries and keep your anxiety under control
  • Medical treatments – Including antidepressants, which are designed to correct chemical imbalances.

The key to handling anxiety, is finding a support system and an approach to treatment that helps you feel as though you are regaining control and where you feel you can be open and comfortable to discuss the worries on your mind. A GP is able to listen to you, get to know your unique circumstances and then work collaboratively with you through things. They can suggest approaches that may be most suited to you, and travel through the journey by your side. Sometimes, taking the first step is the hardest, but also the one where you make the most progress.