Anxiety could be described as a sense of unease, discomfort or fear that we have inside of us about a person, situation or just ourselves. Anxiety becomes a problem when we feel it to a significant degree regularly, and when it stops us from doing the things we want to do, or fulfilling the potential inside of us.
One in three Australians will experience anxiety to a clinical level at some point in their lives.
Someone experiencing clinical levels of anxiety would display several of the following symptoms more days that not for more than 6 months:
- feel a sense of unease, discomfort or dread that something bad is about to happen
- find it difficult to stop worrying
- find it difficult to do everyday activities due to worry
- feel restless or on edge
- become easily tired
- have difficulty concentrating
- feel irritable
- have muscle pain (e.g. sore jaw or back)
- have trouble sleeping (e.g. difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep)
As with depression, there can be many causes of anxiety:
- there may be a history of anxiety within the family
- experiencing ongoing stressful events can lead to anxiety for example
- job related stressors
- changes in living
- relationship difficulties
- experiencing a highly stressful or traumatic event
- abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, financial)
- grief and loss
- physical health problems can increase anxiety for a number of reasons
- consequence of illness on finances, employment, relationships
- life threatening conditions, such as cancer, heart disease
- hormonal problems such as an overactive thyroid, asthma
- substance misuse – whilst substances such as alcohol or drugs can initially be used to calm the effects of anxiety, if used over a long period of time they can induce dependence or addiction and anxiety can be experienced as soon as the substance is not in their possession/use
Ways of managing
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that anxiety can be managed:
- seeking out professional support through a counsellor, psychologist, or GP
- developing a regular exercise routine can be a good outlet for the symptoms of anxiety
- having a daily plan to provide structure and routine to your day
- being mindful of substances that can impact your anxiety levels such as caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods.
Did you know?
You could think of anxiety as being like a tiger. The more you give in to the anxiety you feel, the more you feed the tiger and the fatter it gets. The trick is to stop feeding the tiger!