Health Check

What causes anxiety?

Two million Australians will experience anxiety each year. Find out what’s behind this common mental health condition.

Written by Bonnie Palmer

Anxiety can take many different forms. For some, it’s a constant underlying feeling of worry, for others it can take on the form of a full-blown panic disorder. But the great news is there are lots of effective treatments available.

Does stress contribute to anxiety?

According to Beyond Blue a combination of factors can contribute to anxiety. Common causes can include a family history of mental health conditions, developing and managing a chronic disease, or stressful life events like the loss of a loved one, loss of a job or end of a relationship.

Types of anxiety disorders

Around 25% of Australians have sought treatment for an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders include:

  • panic disorders
  • social phobias
  • specific phobias (claustrophobia and agoraphobia)
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder.

MORE: Why millennials need to self-care more than other generations

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

More often than not, the symptoms of anxiety take both an emotional and physical form. These can include:

  • excessive worry or feelings of apprehension
  • difficulty concentrating
  • rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • an increased heart rate.

How can you treat anxiety?

If you’d prefer to try non-medical treatments first, there are lots of small changes you can make in your own life that can help reduce your anxiety. Regular physical exercise has been shown to help manage stress and anxiety, as has limiting caffeine and alcohol intake. Cognitive behavioural therapy and relaxation techniques can also help.

Of course there are also many different types of medication that can be recommended by your GP or therapist.

Getting help

If you think you might be experiencing anxiety and it’s negatively impacting your life, have a chat to your GP. They’ll be able to help diagnose the problem and suggest the right treatment.

Find out more about what causes other common mental health conditions like depression.

**For mental health information and support, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or LifeLine on 13 11 14.**

Written by Bonnie Palmer

My passions in life are writing, raising awareness for cancer research, exercising, spending time with my amazing friends and drinking good wine (the last two usually go together).

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