Regular exercise is an essential element

Anxiety

Everyone feels anxious or stressed at times. Whether it’s in relation to a specific event or stressor, or we simply feel like we are under pressure at work or at home – these feelings are normal and usually go away after the stressor has gone.

However, for some people, these anxious feelings don’t go away. When this happens, it can have a negative impact on day-to-day functioning.

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue affecting around 1 in 4 Australians’ at some point in their life. Symptoms include;

  • Physical symptoms such as panic attacks, feeling fidgety or wound up, shortness of breath, tight chest, clammy hands, gastrointestinal problems.
  • Constant worry, thinking about “what if”, negative thoughts and always thinking of the worst-case scenario.
  • A constant feeling of impending doom or dread.
  • Avoiding situations that trigger anxious feelings.

 If these symptoms persist and start to affect a person’s day to day functioning, they may have an anxiety disorder.

FAQ

While there is no single “cause” when it comes to anxiety disorders and problems, we do know there are a number of factors that increase a person’s risk of developing an anxiety disorder.

 These include;

  • Family history of anxiety and/or mental health issues
  • High trait anxiety and/or perfectionistic thinking (an anxious personality type)
  • Experiencing ongoing stressful life events.
  • Chronic Health problems; such as diabetes, obesity, asthma.

The most common treatment for anxiety is talking therapy, involving a combination of cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness techniques.

In severe cases, medication may be prescribed however the types of medications used specifically to treat anxiety cannot be taken for long periods of time.

Physical health and lifestyle factors must also be addressed, especially given the fact that chronic anxiety contributes to poor physical health outcomes. As such, treatment may include; 

  • Assistance with sleep hygiene (learning to get a good night sleep)
  • Achieving and maintaining a nutrient rich diet
  • Support in doing mild/moderate amounts of exercise.

In cases where obesity is a factor in triggering and maintaining anxiety, medically assisted sustainable weight loss is a critical component of treatment alongside other forms of therapy.

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