Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, worrying either about the future, current or past events - it's perfectly normal. For some, the anxiety or fear is more frequent, intense, persistent, and at times excessive in relation to everyday life. When these anxious feelings become difficult to control or interfere with everyday life, or are out of proportion to the actual threat, treatment can really help and go a long way towards improving your quality of life.
How common is it?
In a word, very! Around one quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. In any given year, around 1 in 10 of us will experience anxiety symptoms. You can read more anxiety prevalence statistic here.
Are there different types of anxiety?
Yes, several anxiety conditions can be diagnosed. There are different types of anxiety disorders including:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder where a person experiences excessive and persistent worry across different situations.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is when a person experiences significant amount of fear and avoidance in social situations which causes considerable distress and impacts on how they function in parts of daily life.
- Panic Disorder involves unexpected and disabling panic attacks and may include a preoccupation with the fear of a recurring attack. A panic attack includes a rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or an overwhelming sense of fear.
- Specific Phobias is a type of anxiety that is defined as an extreme fear of a particular object, activity or situation which is out of proportion with the actual level of threat posed. Commonly reported are phobias of spiders, snakes, aircraft travel, germs, injections, or tall buildings, to name a few.
- There are other conditions where anxiety is commonly experienced including: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).