Is It Possible To Overcome Anxiety?

by Martin Hood, Clinical Psychologist

It is normal to feel anxious from time to time. Worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life. However, when you worry every day about ‘what ifs’ and worst-case scenarios and anxious feelings persist and interfere with your everyday life, it is possible that you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is one of Australia’s most common psychological conditions, with one in four people experiencing anxiety at some stage in their life1. Over two million Australians experience anxiety in a year2.

But, what is anxiety? Anxiety is more than just feeling worried. Although anxious feelings are a common response to stressful situations, they pass once the stressor is removed. On the other hand, constant worrying and negative thinking can take a toll on your health, both emotional and physical.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder, among others. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common. GAD is characterised by persistent, excessive, and uncontrollable worrying about everyday events and activities.

Signs of Anxiety

While each anxiety condition has its own unique features, there are some common symptoms including:

  • Physical

    • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
    • Feeling tired
    • Panic attacks
    • Racing heart
    • Tightening of the chest
    • Quick breathing
    • Feeling restless, irritable and on edge.
  • Psychological

    • Excessive worry and/or fear
    • Catastrophizing or thinking of the worst case scenario
    • Obsessive thinking.
  • Behavioural

    • Avoidance of places, people and/or situations that make you feel anxious.
    • Isolation.

These symptoms are some of a number of possible symptoms that you may experience. They are not designed to provide a diagnosis. Please see your GP or book an appointment with a psychologist to get a proper diagnosis.

Anxiety Treatment

Psychologists can offer information, evidence-based treatment options, and support for anxiety conditions. Effective psychological treatment can help you learn to manage your anxiety, for example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT Therapy and Mindfulness-based Therapies.

Apart from psychological therapy, your psychologist may suggest lifestyle changes, such as regular physical exercise, a healthy diet, and reducing your stress levels. You can also try practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

If you think you may be experiencing anxiety, you can make an appointment to see your GP. GPs can provide you with an initial assessment, medical treatment, and/or a referral to other mental health specialists. If you are unsure, speaking to your GP is a good place to start.

You are welcome to complete the Anxiety and Depression Assessment (K10) by clicking on the button below, to measure how you may have been affected by anxiety or depression over the past four weeks.

Anxiety Resources

Chocolate Minfulness Meditation