Treatment in Sydney
Feeling some level of anxiety from time to time and in different circumstances is a normal part of life. It’s impossible to rid the body and mind of anxiety completely. Anxiety and nervousness can be helpful in some situations and can help us to perform well in stressful circumstances (e.g. when giving a speech or in the lead up to an important event). Feeling this level of anxiety is not normally indicative of a disorder as such.
For some people though, anxiety can become overwhelming and can impair day to day functioning and negatively impact quality of life. These effects can range from mild to severe. In these circumstances anxiety often requires treatment either via therapy and psychological intervention or a combination of therapy and medication. For some people, anxiety has extended and manifested into physical problems including muscle tension, cardio-vascular problems, susceptibility to viral infections, headaches and digestive complaints. In these circumstances, a person may be suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is one of the most common psychological presentations and affects approximately 4-7% of the population during their lifetime. GAD is twice as likely to affect women as men. Most people suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder are not aware they have the disorder and many have become accustomed to excessive worrying viewing it as protective and necessary to prevent things going wrong.
Like most ailments, anxiety is best managed early; however treatment remains an option at any point and at any age. A holistic approach is helpful as is a thorough assessment to rule out any co existing conditions (for example, depression, addictions, trauma related conditions and other anxiety disorders) is also needed.
The DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) lists symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder which include:
- Excessive and unrealistic worrying that is difficult to control
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance and concentration difficulties
Stressful situations and events can often exacerbate symptoms.
Treating Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Finding the right practitioner to help you manage your condition is important.
There are now many approaches which have been researched and found to be useful and effective in managing Generalised Anxiety Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders. These include:
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
- Mindfulness Based Strategies
- Relaxation Strategies
Where to start if you think you may be suffering Generalised Anxiety Disorder?
- Make a list of your current concerns and symptoms
- Chat to your General Practitioner (GP) about your symptoms and discuss referral options to psychologists, mental health social workers and counsellors. You can currently claim a Medicare rebate on up to 10 sessions per calendar year for anxiety related counselling. There are also a number of therapists achieving great results that don’t bill through Medicare (private therapists) so be sure to do your research. Be as informed as you possibly can be and find a GP who will support you in this process.
- Keep an eye on and limit substances that may make your anxiety worse, e.g. caffeine, energy drinks, alcohol & nicotine. Excessive exercise can also be problematic.
- Confide in your partner, a trusted friend, family member or work colleague. ‘ A problem shared is a problem halved’, as they say.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep and eat a balanced diet.
- Undertake light exercise suited to your circumstances.
- Take note of times when your anxiety may fluctuate (e.g. early morning, after stressful events etc).
- Avoid diagnosing yourself based on online research. There’s really no substitute for a personalised face to face assessment with an accredited professional.
- Sign up for a meditation or mindfulness course or download a free App such as ‘Smiling Mind’ www.smilingmind.com.au
At Talkingminds we have a number of skilled psychologists, clinical psychologists, mental health social workers and psychotherapists working at our Ultimo, inner west Sydney, location. All are experienced in the treatment and management of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. There’s usually no waiting time and our therapists are available across 6 days (Mon-Sat) including early mornings, afternoons and evenings.
Visit our website or contact us for more information or to make an appointment.
For more resources on managing Anxiety go to: Beyondblue.org.au