Anxiety is a common psychological problem which affects 10 in every hundred people at any one time. Women report anxiety more than men. It is common to experience other problems such as depression along with anxiety.

Anxiety is highly treatable.

What is Anxiety

Anxiety is a condition which affects a person’s physical, emotional and mental well being and their ability to function day to day. The symptoms can be very distressing and confusing, seeming to come from nowhere at times, or related to irrational fears.

Anxiety conditions include the following:

  • panic
  • generalised anxiety 
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • social anxiety
  • post traumatic stress disorder

The causes of anxiety must be understood case by case. Usually it is the result of several interacting factors and may be affected by stressful life events and personality characteristics.

Treatment can reduce and eliminate symptoms associated with anxiety. Early identification of a problem and effective treatment generate positive outcomes.

Symptoms of Anxiety

A person with anxiety will feel distressed a lot of the time for no apparent reason. An episode of anxiety can be so severe it is immobilising.

Symptoms can include:


  • avoidance
  • shortness of breath
  • pounding heart
  • palpitations
  • upset stomach
  • muscle tension
  • teeth grinding
  • dizzy, unsteady, faint
  • sweating
  • fidgeting or repetitive movements
  • choking
  • trembling or shakiness 
  • pains in the chest
  • fear where there is no danger
  • preoccupation with the future, “what if....” 
  • detachment


Generalised Anxiety is characterised by persistent excessive or unrealistic worry about anything - money, health, work, relationships or being harmed.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can include fear of contamination, concern with symmetry and patterns, illness, religious issues, sexuality, money etc. Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts or impulses that are unrelenting (e.g. doubts). Compulsions are repetitive behaviours such as checking, washing, ordering, hoarding, counting etc. which the person feels driven to do. These activities can be very time consuming, cause distress and interfere with normal functioning.

Social Phobia involves intense anxiety associated with social or performance situations, difficulty with relationships, self consciousness and avoidance of social situations to alleviate the anxiety. This often begins in the teenage years.

Panic Disorder includes sudden attacks of intense fear or apprehension or terror (panic attacks) when there is no actual danger. The person may feel trapped, out of control and even that they are going to die. These are accompanied by an urgent desire to flee from the place the attack is occurring.

Agoraphobia is fear about being away from home or being in a place where escape is not easy or may cause embarrassment, or panic or illness may occur and help would be difficult to get.

Specific Phobia is persistent, excessive fear provoked by a specific feared object or situation. For example flying, animals, injections etc..

Post Traumatic Stress begins with  intense fear, helplessness and horror experienced in an extremely traumatic event or events of a life threatening nature. Symptoms develop after the event and include flashbacks, numbing, avoidance and irritability.

Substance Induced Anxiety is anxiety that is a direct result of a drug of abuse, medication, exposure to a toxin or withdrawal from a drug  or substance (e.g. cocaine, coffee, alcohol, cannabis).

Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety can be managed, reduced and stopped in most cases quite readily.

Effective psychological treatments for anxiety include cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy, including relaxation.

Anxiety Treatment At Flourish

Therapy for anxiety at Flourish  involves learning about how symptoms are triggered and exacerbated. Then new and effective ways to cope with symptoms, avoid triggering and thinking and behaving differently are devised to suit each individual case. 

Physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural aspects are all attended to in order to ensure effective outcomes. 

The person can then regain control of their life naturally.

Ask yourself these questions:-

  • Is there something you are very concerned about / afraid of happening?
  • What do you worry about?
  • How does the future look to you?
  • When you get frightened what happens to you?
  • Do you ever have times of great fear or anxiety / panic attacks?
  • Are there any distressing memories that keep coming back to you?
  • Is there any situation you avoid because it really upsets or scares you?


For further information call Flourish Psychological Services on (02) 4578 3384 or email: contactus@flourishhealth.com.au