Breaking down anxiety
Anxiety is the most common health disorder in Australia and can affect anyone. Statistics show that three million Australians are living with anxiety, and one in four Australians will experience it at some stage in their life.
Rising costs of living, natural disasters, and the unfolding of geopolitical events can make it difficult to find moments of calmness and respite. And while we can’t control the factors that influence these events, we can help manage the impact they have on our mental health.
Key learnings covered in this topic
- What is anxiety?
- What triggers anxiety?
- The resources available to you as a CareSuper member.
So, let’s dive into anxiety, and the resources available to help.
What are anxiety disorders?
There are several different types of anxiety disorders, with triggers and symptoms that vary between them:
- Generalised anxiety disorder: Persistent and excessive worrying that interferes with daily life.
- Panic disorder: Panic attacks can be intense and uncontrollable, leading to overwhelming feelings of anxiety.
- Social anxiety disorder: Anxiety around social situations, including public speaking, parties and meeting new people.
- Phobias: Excessive or persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or action.
- Perinatal, antenatal, and postnatal anxiety: Anxiety before, during and after pregnancy.
What are common anxiety triggers?
While many people can identify a trigger that causes anxiety, others may feel anxious for no apparent reason. Often, there is an underlying cause, and the trigger may be outside your awareness. Some common triggers include:
- Health issues: Physical and mental health issues may trigger anxiety or make it worse.
- Drugs and medication: Some prescription medications and recreational drugs and alcohol may cause or intensify feelings of anxiety.
- Past life experiences: Abuse, neglect, racism, bullying and experiencing death can be triggers.
- Current life situation: Your financial stability, uncertainty, work pressures, stress, bereavement, conflict, life changes and isolation.
- Your diet: Sugar, caffeine, fried and processed foods and additives have all been shown to impact levels of anxiety, as has skipping meals.
- Socialising: Parties, social events and mingling with strangers can trigger anxiety.
- Public speaking/performances: Talking in front of people, reading aloud, and competing can all lead to anxiety.
- Genetics: Studies show that hereditary factors can be responsible for anxiety and depression.
What are symptoms of anxiety?
Symptoms of anxiety can be both physical and psychological:
- Physical: Rapid heart rate, sweating, fast breathing, dizziness, trembling, shaking, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, physical discomfort, tingling, restlessness, feeling sick in the stomach, inability to relax.
- Psychological: Fear, uncontrollable worrying, irritability, difficulty concentrating, withdrawal.
What resources can I access to help with anxiety?
Whether it’s stigma, denial, lack of information or trust, statistics show that 54% of people with a mental health disorder don’t seek treatment – despite the fact that anxiety disorders can be treatable.
Medical professionals can help you decide the best course of treatment, whether that’s making lifestyle changes such as exercising, practicing mindfulness, or changing your diet; taking medication; or seeking psychological help through cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling. Or a combination of these. There are also 24/7 helplines available, including Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636)
Your mental health is important to us
We’ve partnered with our insurer, MetLife, to give you access to 360Health – an award-winning online health and well-being service – at no extra cost to you. This service can connect you with mental health specialists online. The service allows you, your partner and children (over 18 years) to access a confidential, in-depth mental health review from a team of Australian-based experts and get your general mental health questions answered online.
If you’d like to take the worry out of managing your finances, speak to a financial planner about how we can help.
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1 Remember that each person’s condition and health circumstances are unique. If you are suffering from anxiety or have concerns in this regard, we recommend that your first point of contact be your chosen healthcare professional who best knows you and your history.
The information provided in this article is general information only and is not health or medical advice. If you have a health or medical concern, please seek professional medical advice immediately. 360Health services are provided by a third party, Teladoc Health Pty Limited which is a separate and independent entity to MetLife Insurance Limited (ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL No. 238096) (MetLife).
While the content is based on resources that MetLife believes to be well-documented, MetLife is not responsible for the accuracy of the content, and you rely on the content at your own risk. Each person’s condition and health circumstances are unique, and therefore the content may not apply to you. The content is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your licensed health care professional for the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and before starting or changing your health regimen, including seeking advice regarding what drugs, diet, exercise routines, physical activities or procedures are appropriate for your particular condition and circumstances.
360Health services are not provided by way of insurance (including health insurance) and the provision of these services is not dependent on the occurrence of an insured event under the policy. Access to these services will be at MetLife’s absolute discretion and MetLife reserves the right to reasonably discontinue or change the services at any time.
Information correct as at 5 February 2024.