Effective Treatment for Anxiety in Australia
Anxiety is the leading mental health condition in Australia, with 2 million of us suffering from an anxiety disorder each year. Although being stressed occasionally is normal, prolonged anxiety (also called Generalised Anxiety Disorder, or GAD) is not to be overlooked as it also impacts our social interactions and physical health as anxiety can affect our ability to concentrate, sleep and perform daily tasks.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with specific symptoms. When anxiety affects your ability to function, you may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
The Monarch Mental Health Group is a leader in the effective treatment of depression, anxiety and related mental health conditions. With over 20 years of experience treating thousands of patients for anxiety, we possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in its treatment.
As a psychiatrist-led Australian mental health care provider focusing on early access to innovative next-step services for depression, anxiety, and related mental health conditions, the Monarch Mental Health Group is at the forefront of innovative mental health treatment.
Treatment options for anxiety disorders can include:
- Lifestyle measures, such as regular physical activity
- Psychological therapy
- Next-step treatments such as TMS
Our doctors will undertake a thorough assessment and talk with you about specific treatment options and what may be best for your situation. They will consider:
- Type of anxiety disorder
- Severity of condition
- Your treatment preferences
Treatment for anxiety can take time. A good support network makes the process easier.
More About Anxiety
Did you know up to one-third of women and one-fifth of men will experience anxiety at some point in their lives and that anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia?
Anxiety comes in many forms and doesn’t always have negative connotations. Feeling anxious is one way our body keeps us safe from danger (think fight or flight mode), altering our body to respond to something that may be threatening. Yet, when we become constantly worried, distressed and fearful, this affects our daily life and may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. It is important to seek help if you are experiencing any symptoms or signs of anxiety.
Psychological symptoms of anxiety:
- Difficulty to concentrate
Physical symptoms of anxiety:
- Headaches or dizziness
- Tiredness, insomnia
- Palpitations, short breath
- Trembling or shaking
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea, stomachache
This might be at work, school or socially. Treatment options for anxiety disorders include lifestyle measures, psychological therapy and medicines.
What causes anxiety?
The causes of anxiety are not fully known. Several factors are thought to contribute to anxiety-related disorders. Many people suffering from anxiety most likely have genes that make them more susceptible to developing an anxiety disorder. Females are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than males
- Family history
- Having another mental health disorder
- Ongoing stressful situations
- Any kind of abuse (such as physical, sexual, verbal or domestic abuse)
- Life-threatening events
- Pregnancy and childbirth (for the pregnant person or their partner)
- Physical health issues such as thyroid problems and other chronic (ongoing) conditions
- Substance use — particularly stimulants, alcohol and sedatives
- Withdrawing from drugs and alcohol
- Personality types such as a perfectionist, low self-esteem or needing to be in control
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
Everyone has their own experience with anxiety.
Anxiety can feel as mild as a flutter in the stomach, or completely overwhelming; this is described as an anxiety attack, where breathing becomes difficult, and an out-of-body feeling takes over.
Signs of anxiety include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Physical: panic attacks, hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening of the chest, quick breathing, restlessness, or feeling tense, wound up and edgy
- Psychological: excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing, or obsessive thinking
- Behavioural: avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious which can impact on studies, work or social life.
Implementing small lifestyle changes can have immense benefits for people with anxiety.
Here are five strategies for managing anxiety you may want to consider:
- Keep active: participation in physical activities is proven to have major positive impacts on mental wellbeing, even if it is low intensity and over a short period.
- Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness through meditation and breath work is evidenced to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are mindfulness apps you can use to provide support and guide you through these types of exercises.
- Support: Spending quality time with loved ones is a great approach to easing feelings of anxiety for someone. This could be achieved through a meaningful conversation or a shared activity.
- Educate: Learning about the nature of anxiety and available treatment options can help guide someone to take steps towards relieving their symptoms.
- Journaling: the act of journaling allows someone to create a space where they acknowledge and actively process their feelings of anxiety, which can help to alleviate symptoms. Confiding in a blank page is an effective strategy to attain a clearer mindset.
What Anxiety Treatments Are Available in Australia?
Many people need more than self-care and require the help of their GP or other healthcare professionals to assist with managing their anxiety. The good news is that there are effective anxiety treatments available for all Australians, including psychological treatments (such as talking therapies) and medical treatments (such as antidepressants).
Next-Step Anxiety Treatments
First- or second-line treatment will be successful for many patients with anxiety, but it won’t be enough for everyone. It is estimated that up to 40% of patients with anxiety disorders will not achieve significant improvement with first-line treatment.
If your treatment fails to relieve all symptoms – it may be time to take the next step towards your recovery.
Next-step anxiety treatments include:
• Magnetic neurostimulation
• Next-step medications
About Magnetic Neurostimulation for Anxiety Treatment
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is an effective treatment for depression, and it has also been used as an anxiety treatment in Australia and worldwide. rTMS uses magnetic pulses to target specific areas, depending on the condition being treated.
Sessions typically last for around 30 minutes and patients can resume normal daily activities immediately after their session.
The Monarch Clinic Australia is the leading rTMS provider in Australia. Everyone is different and will respond to treatment in different ways. Speak to your healthcare provider about whether a referral to The Monarch Clinic Australia is an appropriate next step.
Next-Step Medications for Anxiety Treatment
Several medications may be suitable for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Medications can also be used to treat the common comorbidities associated with anxiety.
Further Information, Resources, and Support
Managing anxiety will be unique for everyone, and the goal is to find strategies that work for you and that you feel comfortable with. If you have anxiety, or you know someone who does, reach out to someone you feel comfortable speaking with, whether that is a close friend, family member or a health care professional.
References: 1. Bystritsky A. Mol Psychiatry, 2006;11(9):805-14. doi: 10.1038/sj.mp.4001852. 2. Garakani A, Murrough JW, Freire RC, et al. Front Psychiatry, 2020;11
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*Please note - only Monarch Group initial assessments are bulk billed. Accessing clinicians through our consulting suites will incur out-of-pocket costs.