Every year, around 14% of Australian adults are affected by an Anxiety Disorder. Scroll down to learn more about anxiety disorders and how our Perth Psychologists can help you.
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What is an anxiety disorder?
Please Note: Advice & Resources on this page are NOT meant to be a substitute for professional diagnosis or care.
All of us have at one point or another experienced feelings of anxiety and even panic attacks in certain situations (e.g. job interviews or when crossing a busy street). Your heart rate may increase and you may find yourself having sweaty palms among other symptoms. These responses are perfectly normal and are typically there to protect you from harm. Under normal circumstances, our anxiety is usually relatively mild, brief and in response to a particular distressing situation.
An anxiety disorder on the other hand, develops when feelings of intense anxiety and panic last for long periods of time, often without any reason and start to impact your everyday functioning. If this sounds familiar, you might benefit from seeking help.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders ?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for this one. Existing research has shown anxiety disorders to be caused by a wide range of factors. Some of the more common causes include experiencing stressful life events, certain types of drug use (e.g. cocaine, excessive caffeine or methamphetamines), comorbidity with other existing disorders.
You might even be genetically predisposed to panic attacks if either of your parents are. It is important to note that to be classified as a disorder, the anxiety and/or panic attacks should be having a disabling impact on your daily functioning.
Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
Most people should be familiar with anxiety attack symptoms, which generally fall into three categories; cognitive, behavioural and physical. Examples of cognitive symptoms include nightmares, racing or unwanted thoughts, poor concentration, absent-mindedness and undue worry and stress.
Examples of behavioural symptoms include increased irritability and being extremely vigilant or ‘on edge’. Physical symptoms can manifest in the form of rapid, shallow breathing, increased heart-rate, trembling and even headaches.
As noted above, while these anxiety symptoms can be inconvenient and worrying, they will usually come to pass as the stressful situation is removed. In the event of an anxiety disorder however, these symptoms would be more more prevalent and interfering with your ability to carry out your day-to-day functioning or activities (e.g. going to work, picking the kids up from school or running errands etc.). You might even find yourself having a panic attack at the slightest signs of distress or for no apparent reason at all.
Anxiety Treatment (and how it works)
Anxiety therapy and counselling can help you through a number of ways, most notably by identifying and reducing symptoms and triggers, as well as helping you build the relevant skills and knowledge, allowing you to develop improved coping mechanisms for long term improvement. To this end, We typically adopt a two pronged approach to anxiety treatment;
This might include brief cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety (CBT) for short term improvement and relief from symptoms as well as coping skills training and psycho-education to improve long-term outcomes. It is important to note that while CBT is a highly researched and well regarded approach to dealing with anxiety symptoms, your psychologist might adopt different or combined / multiple approaches depending on your particular situation and circumstances.
There are also a number of things you could do at home to help with anxiety. These include meditating, exercise, breathing techniques to help calm you etc. There are even a number of apps available that can help you with this on the app store ( iOS / Android ) e.g. Moodgym. Not everyone will respond to each method the same, the trick is finding one that works for you and sticking to it.
Take the K10 Test Online
You can take the Kessler psychological distress scale (K10) test online to help you examine your likelihood of experiencing problem anxiety. If you have visited a GP to get a mental health care plan and referral to a psychologist in the past, you might have been administered the same test. Visit the site using the button below to learn more and take the anxiety test. Do make sure you read all instructions carefully.
Have a question about anxiety or want to make a booking ?
Our Psychologists are always happy to answer all questions. We do our best to respond within a couple of hours.
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