This fact sheet outlines the different types of anxiety and the treatments that may help manage this condition.
Please seek the support of your GP in diagnosing and managing any mental health condition.
TYPES OF ANXIETY
Anxiety is our body’s response to danger, but when anxiety is persistent or excessive it can be a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Anxiety can be different for different people, but some common types of anxiety include:
GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER
This is a persistent and excessive worry that interferes with daily activities. Often the worry is focused on everyday events such as work tasks and responsibilities, family health and daily routines.
The core symptom of panic disorder is recurrent panic attacks. These are an overwhelming feeling of physical and psychological distress. The symptoms of a panic attack can often be so severe that the person believes they are having a heart attack and attends hospital. Panic attacks can be anticipated, for example in response to a feared object or event or unexpected or can occur for no apparent reason. During a panic attack, people may experience some of the following symptoms at the same time:
- Palpitations, pounding of the heart or rapid heart rate.
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath, feelings of being smothered or choked.
- Chest pain
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint
- Numbness or tingling
- Chills or hot flushes
- Nausea or abdominal pains
- Feeling detached
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of dying
SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER (previously called social phobia)
People with this condition are worried about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or looked down on in a social situation. As a result, they avoid the situation they are worried about or endure it with great discomfort. Examples of these situations include public speaking, meeting new people or eating/drinking in public.
People with this health condition have excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation or activity that is generally not harmful and, whilst the person knows the fear is excessive compared to the risks, they are unable to overcome it. As a result, they go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear. Some examples include fear of flying, fear of heights and fear of spiders.
ANXIETY TREATMENT OPTIONS
Anxiety can be successfully treated. Once your GP/mental health professional has diagnosed you with anxiety they will then prescribe a treatment plan that is matched to your symptoms. Treatments that assist to control anxiety include:
1. TALKING THERAPY
Reaching out to a qualified health professional either face to face or over the phone is proven to assist in the treatment of anxiety. The following pages have links of online resources where you can chat online or on the phone to a mental health practitioner. Your GP may also prescribe a mental health plan where you can access up to 6 treatment sessions with a psychologist who can teach you a new way of thinking, reacting and behaving to help you feel less anxious.
Reaching out to colleagues, family and friends to share your concerns and worries is also a great start to helping you deal with anxiety and is sometimes a first step to getting professional help.
Your employer wants and needs to provide you with a mentally healthy workplace that can help control your anxiety. By sharing your concerns with your employer, they can provide you with duties that potentially reduce your stress/anxiety as well as support you with their Employee Assistance Program.
There are a range of medications that your doctor can prescribe that can assist with anxiety.
The health benefits of good work are shown to assist with mental health conditions. It is important that, if you are experiencing a mental health condition, you share your anxiety with your employer to ensure that the work they are providing you with is protective and supports a mentally healthy workplace. Whilst you are recovering, they may be able to provide you with duties that support your recovery and do not worsen your anxiety. For example, for Amanda, if her concerns were shared, her employer could have provided her with more training or provided her with duties that did not require use of a 2-way radio.
4. SOCIAL CONNECTIONS
Keeping yourself connected with your community and activities that you enjoy and feel safe completing is an important part of treatment and recovery as well as a protective factor to prevent mental illness.
5. EXERCISE AND DIET
Exercise and diet impact most parts of our lives and contribute to our mental health. Keeping yourself active and eating a healthy and balanced diet will assist any mental health treatment plan prescribed for you.
To help you understand if your symptoms are likely to be anxiety, Beyond Blue has a Mental Health “Check-in”. This is a 10-question survey that examines how you have felt over the past 4 weeks. The results are anonymous and will provide recommendations on how and what kind of support you may benefit from:
Beyond Blue – Mental health check-in
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Other good links for you to review or people to talk to include:
Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety
If you want to talk to someone for free you can