-by Elaine Corcoran, Founder & Clinical Director at Brain Training Australia™
Question: You see a large venomous snake in your backyard. What is the appropriate response?
If you answered ‘run away and hide,’ or something to that effect, your fear response is entirely appropriate in this situation.
Here’s another question: You have an important job interview later today. How do you react?
If you would react like it was a snake in the backyard, and the prospect of this situation absolutely terrifies you into a state of panic or paralysis, then your fear response is inappropriate. You may have a problem with anxiety.
Almost 15% of Australians suffer from some form of Anxiety
This example illustrates the main difference between what is a normal and expected fear response, and anxiety. Anxiety is an exaggerated and sometimes harmful stress response to a situation. Having an anxiety disorder then interferes with your ability to live a full and healthy lifestyle.
Affecting 14.4% of Australians each year, anxiety disorders make up our most common mental health condition. That means you, or at the very least, someone you are close to will personally experience this condition at some point. Therefore, it is important to understand what it is and options to manage it.
Anxiety is not completely harmful. A moderate amount is helpful to many situations. It creates extra motivation to finish a task and can even trigger the release of adrenaline, which helps you concentrate and work faster. Obviously, in certain situations it can be very beneficial – like when you have an exam tomorrow, and you need some last minute cramming.
Anxiety becomes harmful when these feelings of stress become overwhelming and too much to effectively manage. And, in situations like having a university exam or a job interview, your body reacts in inappropriate ways that are unhealthy and harm life opportunities.
Different types of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders come in a variety of types, but they all share the common trait of excessive worry or fear towards a situation. They include:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Specific Phobias
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
The behaviours associated with anxiety are mostly learned, i.e. the coping strategies used in the past have been repeated and have formed the current behaviour. This means anxiety can be unlearned too, and strategies to manage behaviour can be taught through therapy, sometimes with the assistance of medication. Other factors do have an effect on anxiety, such as genetics, life experiences and physical health. So, with any possible combinations, each person’s experience of the disorder is unique.
We can help you get better
Here at Brain Training Australia™ we offer expert help to those suffering from anxiety problems to contain, alleviate and resolve the symptoms of anxiety, helping you to recover and stay well. With a little work, you do not need to be afraid of it and you will have soon overcome your struggles.
Contact us to find out more!