Anxiety is very common, especially among younger people. Often people who experience anxiety are reluctant to seek support because they brush it off as nothing serious or don’t believe there is an issue. A survey of 1449 people, conducted by Beyond Blue, found that two out of five people who checked their symptoms using an anxiety screening checklist had experienced mild to severe anxiety in the previous two weeks. Of those, fewer than half – just 46 per cent – reported having sought professional support.
Anxiety conditions are the most common form of mental health conditions in Australia. Varying degrees of anxiety are common nationwide and most of us know someone who has experienced anxiety at some point in their life. Beyond Blue were seeking the answer as to why people don’t seek help for their anxiety (on average it takes eight years). This has started a 3-year campaign to improve community understanding of anxiety, its symptoms and to encourage seeking support.
Types of anxiety
There are various types of anxiety disorder, each one with their own unique issues and ways to resolve them. Being able to identify which one you or a loved one has can be a great step towards seeking the right kind of support. Headspace – a mental health organisation – has a clear and concise overview of the common types of anxiety disorders.
Some people may worry about things a lot of the time, they may feel that their worries are out of control. They might feel tense and nervous most of the time, have trouble sleeping or find it hard to concentrate.
Some people may experience intense anxiety in social situations because of a fear of embarrassment or judgement. This may lead a person to start avoiding situations where there are other people, like hanging out with friends or going to work, school or uni.
Some people experience intense fear about being away from loved ones, like parents or siblings, or often worry about them being hurt.
Some people feel intense anxiety about being in particular environments outside the home. This can include public spaces, public transport, enclosed spaces or crowds.
Some people have recurring panic attacks and ongoing fears about experiencing more panic attacks.
Sometimes a person may experience a fear of a particular situation or object, like a small space or spider, that leads to a person avoiding a situation or object.
Take the quiz
Some common signs of anxiety include:
- Excessive worrying about things that could go wrong
- Racing mind that won’t calm down
- Feeling tense or on edge
- A racing heart
- And sleeping problems
If you or someone you know suspects you/they might have anxiety, you can take the Beyond Blue anxiety checklist quiz.
Mental health professionals are available at the Beyond Blue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3PM – 12AM AEST or email responses within 24 hours).