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Anxiety - symptoms, treatment and causes

Anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder that can affect ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks.

'Don't worry, be happy' - so the song goes, but is it really that easy? Anxiety has an important role to play in helping us get around safely in the world and it can be a beneficial 'early warning system' in a range of experiences. But for millions of Australians suffering from anxiety disorders, worries are a constant feature of everyday life.

People with anxiety disorders may be unable to stop worrying about seemingly unimportant things, and they can perceive situations as much worse than they actually are. Anxiety interferes with the enjoyment of life and disrupts work, relationships and self-perceptions. These are, however, treatable conditions, and learning about them is an important first step.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders, affecting one in four Australians at some stage in their life. Women are more likely to develop anxiety than men, but it is not clear why. There are many forms of anxiety disorder but the one thing they have in common is their impact on day-to-day activities.

Anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks at work, home or school. People with anxiety disorders often feel compelled to avoid stressful situations and in extreme cases avoid going out altogether. Physical symptoms are common and include shortness of breath, a pounding heart and trembling hands.

Anxiety disorders can be caused by either one or a combination of factors. These include genetic factors, ongoing stress, family background, physical health issues or a traumatic event. Talk to your doctor about your anxiety symptoms so they can make a diagnosis and decide on the most appropriate treatment or find other ways to manage your anxiety.

At any time, if you feel that you may harm yourself or have thoughts of suicide, talk to family or friends and inform your doctor as a matter of urgency. You can ring a phone service such as Lifeline 13 11 14, available 24 hours a day. If you are the loved one or carer, dial triple zero (000).

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Types of anxiety

The 6 most common anxiety disorders are: generalised anxiety disorder, social phobia, specific phobias, OCD, PTSD and panic disorder

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MindSpot Clinic | About Anxiety

Anxiety disorders affect 1 in 7 people in Australia each year. Stress, worry, fear and panic are words that describe anxiety.

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Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

People with GAD feel anxious and worried most of the time which can interfere with their normal lives

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Anxiety disorders fact sheet - Women's Health Queensland Wide

Women's Health Queensland Wide Inc (Women's Health) is a not for profit health promotion, information and education service for women and health professionals throughout Queensland.

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MindSpot Clinic | Wellbeing Course

The Wellbeing Course is designed to help adults aged 26-64 years learn to manage mild, moderate, and severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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e-couch Self Help

e-couch provides free, self-help modules for depression, general anxiety and social anxiety, as well as for divorce/separation and loss/bereavement. e-couch tool-kits teach skills drawn from a range of evidence-based therapies.

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MindSpot Clinic | Indigenous Wellbeing Course

The Indigenous Wellbeing Course is designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 18 years and over to learn to manage mild, moderate and severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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A guide to what works for anxiety

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure, it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

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Online Course and App for Anxiety (GAD Generalized Anxiety Disorder) | THIS WAY UP

This Way Up helps you combat Generalised Anxiety Disorder with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Learn more about this course.

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Generalised anxiety disorder | At Ease for Veterans

People with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) worry excessively about a number of different areas of life, such as family, health, finances, and work difficulties. This page provides you with information about generalised anxiety disorder and what you can do about it and where where you can get help

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