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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;
If these symptoms persist and start to affect a person’s day to day functioning, they may have an anxiety disorder.
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;
The most common treatment for anxiety is talking therapy, involving a combination of cognitive-behavioural 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.