According to mental health charity Mindframe, approximately 14% of Australians will be affected by an anxiety disorder in any 12 month period.
However, an anxiety disorder can take many different shapes. SANE Australia defines an anxiety disorder as “a medical condition characterised by persistent, excessive worry”.
While it manifests in different forms, one commonality is that the anxiety being experienced is so distressing it interferes with a person’s ability to live on a daily basis. Some people experience anxiety in tandem with depression, alcohol or drug abuse.
Anxiety can be extremely debilitating. Symptoms of severe anxiety can be physical and include panic attacks, sweating, chest pain, feeling dizzy and becoming detached from oneself and one’s environment.
Treatment of anxiety disorders includes psychological therapy and medication. The Australian healthcare system supports treatment; a GP will complete an assessment and fill in a Mental Health Plan before giving a referral to a suitable mental health professional. A Medicare Rebate is available for the first six sessions with a psychologist every year.
In addition to medical treatment, there are a number of coping strategies which can improve the quality of life on a daily basis.
- Practice Relaxation Techniques: It is important to find ways to relieve the muscle tension caused by anxiety. Relaxation techniques include slow breathing, meditation and positive visualisation.Yoga is an excellent technique to cope with anxiety, as it combines breathing techniques with poses that stimulate the blood flow and improves digestion.
- Exercise & Diet: Any type of regular exercise is very effective in relieving stress. Exercise is an outlet for the body when it is in the ‘Fight or Flight’ state. When we are stressed, natural chemicals like adrenalin and cortisol are accumulated. Working out, or even taking a gentle walk, helps release those chemicals and creates mood-boosting endorphins.
- Talk It Out: If you are feeling isolated, there are platforms for people with anxiety to discuss how they are feeling with a receptive audience. Mental health charity BeyondBlue has moderated online forums dedicated to anxiety. They also have a range of resources providing advice.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides assistance to people suffering from mental illness which has led to a ‘psychosocial disability’; or a disability that has arisen from the issue. This can include a severe anxiety disorder that is likely to be permanent.
NDIS-Funded Supports include assistance with planning, decision-making and household tasks. In addition, they will support building skills to live independently and achieve goals.
Zest Care is a registered NDIS service provider. We can help you start living the life you want – today.