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Do you or a loved one suffer from anxiety? You’re not alone! In this article, we talk about some of the causes, symptoms, and treatments available

So, I’m sure you’ve heard the term, but what actually is Anxiety?

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress.

It’s a feeling of fear or nervousness, that occurs in everyone.

It is completely normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially in some situations like attending a job interview, entering a new social situation, taking a test, or public speaking – but it’s when these feelings occur more frequently, become more extreme or begin to interfere with your everyday life that you may need to seek help.

Anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes throughout life – but it shouldn’t affect your quality of life.

The different types of anxiety

Anxiety is a part of many disorders, including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Phobias

What causes anxiety?

Many things can trigger/cause anxiety. It could be one big traumatic event – or a buildup of smaller stressful life situations.

For example, losing someone close to you, job loss, a relationship breakdown, or ongoing worry about money.

Other causes can include – genetic predispositions/factors passed on by your family (blood relatives), mental health disorders like depression, your personality type, or drugs and alcohol.

There is no way to predict what will cause someone to develop anxiety, but there are many ways to reduce or manage symptoms.

Fight or flight response

So, what was the evolutionary point of anxiety? Well, we have to go wayyy back in time to explain that.

Have you heard the term ‘fight or flight’?

It’s your body’s survival mechanism. It’s a physiological and psychological reaction that occurs when we are in danger – or in the presence of something mentally or physically terrifying.

The body’s nervous system is activated by a sudden release of stress hormones. 

This would help our ancestors in dangerous situations to quickly decide whether to stay and fight or flee to safety. 

Luckily we’re not hunting for our next meal or escaping ravenous animals in the 20th century.

But people with Social Anxiety Disorder (for example), might feel this same fight or flight response when put in a situation where they’re meeting new people. 

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety can cause an array of physical or mental symptoms including:

  • Pounding (or irregular) heartbeat
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Butterflies in the stomach
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sense of doom
  • Upset stomach / Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Feeling restless and unable to sit still
  • Excessive fears, worries or obsessive thinking

Anxiety treatment and resources

There are many different treatment options, and we recommend you speak with your GP as soon as possible, so they can help you on your journey to recovery.

You can also check out these resources to find out more information:

Lifeline – Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services via phone, text, and online chat. Lifelines’ confidential crisis support is available to anyone across Australia who is experiencing a personal crisis, contemplating suicide or caring for someone in crisis.

Beyond Blue Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.

Black Dog Institute – As the only medical research institute in Australia to investigate mental health across the lifespan, their aim is to create a mentally healthier world for everyone.

Are you an ETC customer? We can help you on your journey

If anxiety is affecting your everyday life and ability to look for work, it’s important to let your ETC Advisor know – as we may be able to help. We can assist with things like organising counselling sessions with a psychologist to help you get back on track – at no cost to you.

We also recommend you seek advice from your GP as soon as possible, as you may be eligible for a Mental Health Care Plan.

Find out how ETC can help you maintain work with an injury, illness or disability.

Are you an ETC customer and want to speak with your ETC advisor about counselling services?

Call our friendly team on 1800 007 400


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