What is Anxiety?

Anxiety in and of its self is a normal part of life and usually comes about when a person perceives a sense of pressure in a given situation (eg, having to complete an exam) or that the situation is beyond their ability to achieve (eg, deadlines).

As a matter of fact, a little bit of anxiety can be a good thing in providing the stimulus needed to complete a given task. However, some people continue to experience anxiety following the passing of, or in the absence of, stressful situations. This kind of anxiety can be serious and have a significant impact on a person’s experience of life17.

Anxiety is the most common form of mental health condition in Australia with one in three women and one in four men likely to experience anxiety in their lifetime. Just like other mental health conditions, anxiety can be experienced along side other conditions such as depression and PTSD. Also like other mental health conditions, early intervention for anxiety can be important to recovery18.


What Leads to Anxiety:

It is likely a combination of factors that lead a person to experience anxiety:

  • Personal Factors – A family history of anxiety1.
  • Stressful Life Events – Loss of employment, stress on the job, changing jobs, moving home, having a child, the death or serious illness of someone close to you1.
  • Traumatic Events – Being the victim of, or observing someone else to be the victim of, physical or emotional abuse or other traumatic event13.
  • Health Problems – Knowing you have a serious health problem can lead to anxiety (eg, chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease and various hormonal problems)1.
  • Drug and alcohol use – Long-term alcohol and drug use and abuse can lead to the experience of anxiety (eg, cannabis and amphetamine use)1.

Symptoms of anxiety:

  • Physical Symptoms such as breathlessness, racing heart, sweating, trembling, nausea, dizziness, feeling on edge or restless3.
  • A sense of fear or panic1.
  • Constant worry or dread3.
  • Finding it difficult to calm your self down1.
  • Thoughts that seem to pop into your head on a regular basis that you can’t shake and might appear silly to others1.
  • Finding yourself avoiding people or situations that you worry will cause you anxiety (eg, work or social events)1.

If you feel as though you, or someone you know, is experiencing anxiety that is debilitating and interfering with every day life, discuss how you are feeling, or encourage your mate to discuss how they are feeling, with your/ their GP, mental health professional, or any of the organisations listed on the Where Can I get Help Page.


1 Beyond Blue. (2016, September 20). What causes depression. Retrieved from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression/what-causes-depression

2 McGorry, P. D. (2008). Is early intervention in the major psychiatric disorders justified? Yes. BMJ, 337.

3 Phoenix Australia. (2016, September 18). Recovery: Helping Others. Retrieved from http://phoenixaustralia.org/recovery/helping-others/

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