Anxiety Disorders: What You Need to Know

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions in Australia, affecting more than two million people every year. Anxiety disorders can range from mild to severe and can have a significant impact on a person’s life. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of anxiety disorders, the symptoms, and the treatments available.

What are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions that involve extreme fear or worry that can interfere with a person’s daily life. Anxiety disorders can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, genetics, or traumatic life events.

The most common anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

The symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary depending on the type of disorder, but some common symptoms include:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling or shaking

Treatments for Anxiety Disorders

There are a variety of treatments available for anxiety disorders. The most common treatments include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Medication

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify and change negative thought patterns that lead to anxiety. Exposure Therapy is a type of CBT that involves gradually exposing a person to the source of their anxiety in order to help them confront their fears. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, can help reduce anxiety symptoms. Medication, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, can also be used to treat anxiety disorders.

When to Seek Help

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek help. Anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on a person’s life, and the sooner they get help, the better.

If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, the first step is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine if you have an anxiety disorder and can refer you to a mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment.


Anxiety disorders are common mental health conditions that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. There are a variety of treatments available, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, and medication. If you think you may have an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional.


What are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder?

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can include excessive worrying, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

What are the different types of anxiety disorders?

The most common types of anxiety disorders are panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

How is an anxiety disorder treated?

Treatment for an anxiety disorder may include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Treatment may also involve lifestyle changes such as exercise, stress management, and relaxation techniques.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

McEvoy, P. M., & Nathan, P. (2012). Anxiety disorders: An information guide. Toronto, ON: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Hofmann, S. G., & Smits, J. A. (2008). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adult anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(4), 621–632.