“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination”Christian Nevell Bovee
In Australia anxiety is the most common mental health challenge. About 14% of Australian’s in any one year will experience some form of anxiety disorder. Women are more likely then men to experience anxiety – 18% compared to 11%. For young people aged between 18-24 one in every 10 are impacted on by anxiety. It’s also worth noting that depression and substance use problems commonly occur alongside anxiety difficulties.
Anxiety is described as persistent and excessive worry, apprehension or fear about life situations. It is normal to experience these feelings in particular contexts such as a job interview or public speaking. At such times most people have the capacity to manage these emotions and complete the task at hand. For some people however, anxiety can become more debilitating where its impact affects day to day living. This can range from mild anxiety which intrude in a person’s life with a persistent and vague unease to much more crippling manifestation where anxiety is experienced with panic symptoms.
Clinical mental health characterise anxiety into a number of different disorders. These are:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder where there is a chronic and persistent worry and fear about life situations that seem disproportionate to the actual event. There is usually no apparent or logical reason for the inordinate amount of fear or worry that occurs. These fears and worries interfere with daily activity such as work, school and social engagements.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when an individual has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event that results in harm such as assault, serious accidents, witnessing others being harmed or seeing the death of another. PTSD usually involves re-experiencing the event through flashbacks, which can result in avoiding people, places and events that trigger the anxiety.
Social Anxiety Disorder as the name suggests impacts on people in social situations where anxiety is generated through fear of being judged by others or there is acute embarrassment when in public places out of fear of doing some kind of impulsive behaviour. This anxiety causes people to avoid public places and social situations resulting in normal life being curtailed.
Panic Disorder is characterised by intense anxiety that leads to panic attacks that have strong physiological responses such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness and disorientated thinking. Panic attacks can occur in particular situations or for no apparent reason with rapid onset of symptoms that peak after 10 minutes.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that describes a person who experiences thoughts or actions that are repetitive, distressing, and intrusive. This could be repetitive washing of hands or a need to read all the road signs or placing everything in certain positions or rechecking door locks. People with OCD usually understand that their behaviours are irrational but these behaviours are ways to cope with not feeling safe.
If you unfortunately find yourself experiencing anxiety and would like to seek support and assistance then please call one of our therapists.
May this day find you well
Counselling and Psychotherapy Team