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Anxiety is common, but usually not a problem when it’s brief and comes on at the right time. It’s caused by the body’s fight-flight-freeze system being triggered by a threatening situation. While it can feel unpleasant, it serves to keep people safe and to respond helpfully when faced with an actual threat to life or safety. It’s made of a combination of thoughts (often worries about negative future events, other peoples’ opinions, particular situations or other concerns), physical sensations and urges to avoid certain situations.
For some people anxiety can be challenging when it’s constant, draining or excessive. In some cases, that level of anxiety may be an anxiety disorder. This is a common condition in which anxiety feels distressing and affects daily life. About 25% of Australians will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.
Common types of anxiety include:
Problems with anxiety are treatable. Based in the Sydney CBD, we specialise in providing treatment for anxiety that is tailored to your needs and circumstances.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can follow experiencing an event that significantly threatens a person’s life or physical safety. This may be either experiencing the event directly, witnessing it, or learning that it happened to somebody close. Signs of PTSD can include any of the following that lasts for at least one month: distressing unwanted thoughts or dreams about what happened, having strong distressing reactions at reminders, avoiding situations, people or conversations about what happened, low mood and negative thoughts, feeling anxious and agitated, and having difficulty winding down. PTSD is common, affecting up to approximately 10% of people. The experience of trauma may also be associated with other difficulties including depression, problematic alcohol and substance use and anxiety disorders.
Our Sydney clinical psychologists specialise in treating PTSD and other difficulties associated with trauma. Click here for more information.
It’s common to experience times of sadness and varying mood. When the sadness feels constant and lasts for two or more weeks, it may be a sign of depression (or Major Depressive Disorder). Approximately 1 in 4 people experience an episode of depression in their lifetime. In addition to sadness, other signs of depression include not enjoying usually enjoyable activities, sleep problems, thoughts of suicide, low energy, changes in appetite and weight, reduced sex drive and reduced hopefulness.
Sometimes, in addition to periods of depressed mood, people can experience unusually high moods. If this lasts for several days and is accompanied by other changes, it might be a sign of mania and bipolar mood variation. These other changes can include feeling much more energetic than usual, feeling much less need for sleep, feeling wired and unusual, increased irritability and distractibility, doing things more impulsively, trying to do lots of things at once and feeling unusually productive, taking more risks than usual (for example with money, sex or physical risk-taking), drinking more alcohol and using substances. Sometimes it can also include believing things people wouldn’t usually believe or a sense of having unusual experiences.
Click here to learn more about how we can help you with treatment for depression and other mood problems.
Everyone goes through times of life stress. While people may be able to cope most of the time, sometimes things can get on top of us and feel overwhelming. This can be from problems at work, relationships, illness, family difficulty or life changes (for example, work change or relocation). Some of the difficulties people experience at these times can include difficulties with mood, anger, worry and anxiety, sleep, or feeling more emotional than usual.