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Dealing with anxiety

3-minute read

Anxiety is a normal part of life and everybody feels it from time to time. However, when anxiety gets overwhelming and doesn't go away, it can be difficult to know how to manage it. By understanding what triggers your anxiety, you can develop strategies to cope.

Understand your anxiety triggers

Anxiety-related disorders come in many forms, and can trigger common anxiety reactions, such as panic attacks. Some of the common triggers include:

  • family history – you are more likely to develop anxiety if you have a family history of anxiety
  • patterns of thinking – unhelpful thoughts or habits in the way you think might contribute to anxious feelings
  • your physical health – if you suffer from other health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure, it can make you more vulnerable to anxiety
  • drug and alcohol use
  • other mental health conditions, such as depression

Sometimes physical conditions such as an overactive thyroid gland can mimic anxiety, so if you regularly suffer from the symptoms of anxiety, it’s best to see a doctor and have this assessed.

Tips for reducing anxiety

If you are feeling anxious or stressed, there are some strategies you can use to help manage anxiety yourself. These include:

Know your sources of support

If you are experiencing anxiety, it can help to talk to family and friends about how you are feeling. They can offer support, understanding, or just listen to you.

Where to get help

There are online support groups such as beyondblue and the Black Dog Institute that provide opportunities to talk with other people who have had similar experiences. Online support for anxiety is also available from:

A number of apps that may help you deal with anxiety are also available for download:

However, sometimes it is not possible to manage the condition by yourself and you might want to seek professional help. By talking with your doctor, you can decide on the right treatment strategy for you. This might involve referring you to a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Psychologists can offer talking therapies, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, whereas psychiatrists offer both talking therapies and medication.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2018


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