What is Anxiety

What is anxiety?
Anxiety affects over 2 million people in Australia. Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure – for example, meeting work deadlines, sitting exams or speaking in front of a group of people – it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t subside. Anxiety is when they are ongoing and exist without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life. We all feel anxious from time to time, but for a person experiencing anxiety these feelings cannot be easily controlled. Anxiety is common – on average, one in three women and one in five men will experience an anxiety condition at some stage in their life. The sooner a person with anxiety seeks support, the more likely they are to recover.

How do you know if someone has anxiety?
The symptoms of anxiety can often develop gradually over time. Given that we all experience some anxiety, it can be hard to know how much is too much. In order to be diagnosed with an anxiety condition, it must have a disabling impact on the person’s life. There are many types of anxiety, and there is a range of symptoms for each. Some common symptoms include:
  • hot and cold flushes
  • racing heart
  • tightening of the chest
  • snowballing worries
  • obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour.
If you are familiar with any of these symptoms, check the more extensive list of symptoms common to anxiety below.

Common symptoms of anxiety
Behaviour
  • withdrawing from, avoiding, or enduring with fear objects or situations that cause anxiety • urges to perform certain rituals to try and relieve anxiety
  • not being assertive (i.e. avoiding eye contact)
  • difficulty making decisions • being startled easily
Physical
  • increased heart rate/racing heart
  • shortness of breath
  • vomiting, nausea or stomach pain
  • muscle tension and pain (e.g. sore back or jaw)
  • feeling detached from your physical self or surroundings
  • having trouble sleeping (e.g. difficulty falling or staying asleep)
  • sweating, shaking
  • dizzy, lightheaded or faint
  • numbness or tingling
  • hot or cold flushes
  • difficulty concentrating
Thoughts
  • “I’m going crazy.”
  • “I can’t control myself.”
  • “I’m about to die.”
  • “People are judging me.”
  • having upsetting dreams or flashbacks of a traumatic event
  • finding it hard to stop worrying
  • unwanted or intrusive thoughts
Feelings
  • overwhelmed
  • fear (particularly when having to face certain objects, situations or events)
  • worried about physical symptoms (e.g. fearing there is an undiagnosed medical problem)
  • dread (e.g. that something bad is going to happen)
  • constantly tense, nervous or on edge
  • uncontrollable or overwhelming panic
This partial guide forms part of our extensive Wellbeing section to which you receive free access as a member of the Wentworth Advantage Help Desk Service.

To access the full article visit www.beyondblue.org.au/anxiety

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This document does not constitute human resource or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should contact the HR Help Desk or seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content. © Wentworth Advantage Pty Ltd 2017