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Anxiety in Australia: Facts, Statistics & Treatment

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We all feel anxious from time to time. For many, it’s a natural reaction when facing a stressful situation. Once that under-pressure moment is over, everything goes back to normal. But what if it doesn’t?

If your anxiety feelings don’t want to go away or you start experiencing anxiety attacks more frequently and through no particular trigger, it’s a high chance you’ve developed an anxiety disorder. A condition that can disrupt your entire life when left untreated, affecting your sleep, concentration, and social relationships. A condition that affects 1 in 4 Australians.

That makes anxiety disorders the most common mental health condition in Australia, affecting over 3.3 million Australians. What is more, these numbers are expected to rise, especially among younger generations. Luckily, while some social stigma still surrounds this topic, anxiety awareness in Australia is growing, with more Aussies seeking professional help each year. 

Many of those with anxiety disorders seek mental health retreats outside Australia, in Thailand, for example. But why has anxiety become such a prevalent problem Down Under? What are its symptoms and causes? More importantly, when and where to seek help? We’ll cover that and more in the following guide. 

Overview of Anxiety Disorders in Australia

Before we dive into the most common anxiety disorders, their causes, and why they are so prevalent among Aussies, here are some of the key statistics that show just how common anxiety is in Australia:

  • Anxiety disorders have or will affect 1 in 4 Australians at some stage of their life;
  • Anxiety was the most common group of mental disorders in Australia, affecting 16.8% of people (3.3 million) in 2020-21;
  • Only 27% of Australians with anxiety disorders seek professional help;
  • Anxiety disorders are more common among female Australians – 21% compared to 12.4%;
  • Almost half (44.7%) of people from the LGBTQ+ community are affected by anxiety disorders;
  • Anxiety is the most common among younger generations, with almost one-third (31.5%) of people aged 16-24 battling anxiety;
  • Social phobia is the most common anxiety disorder (7.0% of cases), followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (5.7% of cases) and agoraphobia (4.6% of all cases);
  • Anxiety constitutes approximately 7% of all mental health disorders in children and adolescents aged 4-17.

What Is Anxiety?

Most people experience anxiety when facing stressful situations. Usually, such a reaction includes anxious thoughts, feelings, sweating, trembling, etc. Normally, these symptoms should pass once the situation we face ends. However, if these anxious reactions become more severe, recurring, and frequent, it could indicate an anxiety disorder. 

As covered, anxiety is the most common mental health condition diagnosed in Australia, comprising nearly 17% of all mental issues among Australians. What many people aren’t aware of, though, is that numerous disorders fall under the umbrella of anxiety. 

The most common anxiety disorders in Australia are:

  • Social Phobia. Also called social anxiety disorder, social phobia is the most common anxiety disorder in Australia, affecting approximately 7% of Aussies with anxiety. Social phobia is characterised by a severe fear of social situations and events. It usually involves an intense fear of being humiliated and embarrassed by social situations, such as eating in front of others or meeting new people.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is the second-common anxiety disorder in Australia, accounting for 5.7% of all anxiety cases. It’s usually triggered by distressing and traumatic experiences, such as assault, war, accidents, or disasters. Its symptoms typically include upsetting dreams, experiencing flashbacks, and having difficulty relaxing. 
  • Agoraphobia. Affecting 4.6% of Australians with anxiety, agoraphobia includes intense fear when in a crowd or alone in a large space. People with agoraphobia face anxiety attacks when they feel it would be difficult to quickly get out or get help if needed. 
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). People with GAD can experience persistent and excessive stress over multiple daily situations, such as family, work, health, chores, etc. Generalised anxiety disorder is a common problem in Australia, affecting 3.8% of Aussies with diagnosed anxiety.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Affecting approximately 3.1% of Australians with anxiety, OCD is characterised by ongoing and intrusive thoughts or fears. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder often use rituals and repetitive behaviours to help them cope with their fears. For example, people who fear germs wash and clean themselves constantly. 

These are the five most common anxiety disorders in Australia, but many other disorders may affect people. Many Aussies also battle panic disorders and specific phobias (fear of spiders, birds, snakes, etc.). These disorders can have different root causes and symptoms, which is why it’s so crucial to seek professional help. 

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

There are several anxiety disorders, each with several distinct symptoms. However, multiple symptoms are common for all anxiety disorders, both mental and physical. Let’s take a closer look at the signs that may indicate you have some form of anxiety:

Feelings & Thoughts:

  • feelings of excessive fear,
  • restlessness,
  • edgy, tense, and wound-up feelings,
  • constant worrying,
  • obsessive thinking,
  • catastrophising. 

Physical Symptoms:

  • frequent panic attacks,
  • racing heart,
  • rapid breathing and shortness of breath,
  • hot and cold flushes,
  • headaches,
  • difficulty sleeping.

Anxiety often leads to people avoiding stressful situations. That, of course, is practically impossible and can have a significant negative impact on one’s everyday life, whether it’s work, school, social life or relationships. 

Why Is Anxiety a Common Problem in Australia?

It’s difficult to explain whether there’s an underlying issue behind the high anxiety figures in Australia. One of them might be the social stigma surrounding the topic of mental health. With only 27% of Australians seeking professional help when battling anxiety disorders, it’s clear that the overall mindset might be flawed. 

High anxiety figures and people’s approach to such disorders can also be a link to high alcohol and drug consumption figures, with many Aussies treating such substances as a coping mechanism. One of the main causes behind the growing anxiety disorder numbers can also be the COVID-19 pandemic, although these figures were high and rising even before the global pandemic hit. 

What Causes Anxiety?

What makes anxiety so tricky to diagnose is that there’s no single known cause of anxiety disorders. Several triggers and factors can contribute to developing an anxiety disorder, but these differ between individuals and disorders themselves. 

The most common factors that play a role in developing an anxiety disorder include the following:

  • Genetics. Some genetic components appear to put individuals at higher risk of developing anxiety disorders.
  • Biology. How the brain processes and responds to stress can affect the frequency and severity of some anxiety disorders.
  • Stressful life events and experiences. Early life trauma or stressful events and experiences often act as triggers for the development of specific anxiety disorders, typically PTSD. 
  • Thinking style. People who overthink or exaggerate particular situations and events tend to experience anxiety attacks more frequently due to their catastrophic and intrusive thoughts. 
  • Wrong coping strategies. Some people try to cope with anxiety by avoiding stressful situations and other triggers. These coping strategies often increase anxiety symptoms. 

All these factors can play a significant role in developing an anxiety disorder. However, these aren’t the only reasons for Australians struggling with anxiety. For example, many Aussies said it was during the COVID-19 pandemic that they experienced the most severe anxiety symptoms. 

Australia isn’t the only country that experienced a growing number of anxiety cases. One international study found that the worldwide number of anxiety disorder cases grew by 25 per cent in 2020. Since then, these numbers have declined, but anxiety remains the most common mental health condition in Australia, just like it was before the global pandemic started. 

When to Seek Treatment?

Untreated anxiety disorder can severely affect one’s life, often leading to other co-occurring mental health issues, such as depression and insomnia. However, struggling with anxiety can impact the most fundamental aspects of daily life, such as work, social activities, relationships, etc. 

The question many people ask is when to seek treatment for anxiety. After all, we all face anxious feelings when experiencing stressful situations, such as a meeting with a boss or public speaking. How to distinguish a natural human response to stress from an anxiety disorder?

The most straightforward way is measuring how frequent, severe, and long-lasting are your anxiety attacks. Pay attention to when they occur and look for patterns. Focus on symptoms you experience, such as rapid breathing, racing heart, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, trembling, etc. If they occur more frequently and during specific situations, it might indicate you have an anxiety disorder. 

If you start to suspect that might be the case, don’t waste time hoping it will pass. Anxiety symptoms can often become more severe when left untreated, so it’s vital to seek professional help immediately. Unfortunately, it’s something many Australians underestimate, with only 27% of Aussies with anxiety seeking professional help. 

What is more, the average time of seeking professional help for anxiety is 8 years. Why? There’s no one specific answer. The reason might be a social stigma surrounding the topic, which isn’t just a problem in Australia but in many other countries as well. 

If you aren’t sure whether you have anxiety, Beyond Blue offers anonymous mental health check-ins to help diagnose Australians whether they may have a mental health condition. 

Anxiety Treatment Options

There are many anxiety treatment options available. However, with some working better with specific types of anxiety disorders, it’s essential to consult with a professional to find the one that’s best suited for your particular situation. And that’s precisely what our team at The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand does.

After you contact us for a no-cost consultation, we will assess your individual case and create an anxiety treatment programme that’s best suited for your specific case. Our programme involves our unique approach to mental health treatment while also including several well-researched and proven anxiety treatment techniques, including:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). CBT is centred around a conversation with a trained therapist. During these conversations, a patient talks about their thoughts and feelings surrounding their condition and how it affects their life. Based on these feelings and experiences, a therapist creates a psychotherapeutic strategy which often includes changes in the patient’s habits and thinking. 
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS is a non-invasive treatment that utilises magnetic waves to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. This cutting-edge technology has been approved by numerous government bodies as an effective treatment for numerous mental health conditions, including addictions, depression, and anxiety disorders. It offers a perfect solution for people who want to avoid medication treatment. 
  • Holistic Wellness Techniques. Besides CBT and TMS sessions, our wellness programme also involves numerous other treatment options that help overcome anxiety disorders. Our programme includes physical exercise, massage therapy, mindfulness meditation, yoga, art therapy, and Muay Thai, providing the perfect mix of Eastern and Western methods. 

Why Australians Choose The Dawn’s Anxiety Retreat

Anxiety isn’t a condition to underestimate. Unfortunately, that’s what many Australians do, believing that such disorders can pass with time. 

Many choose to ignore them and avoid any stressful situations and triggers that may cause feelings of anxiety. As explained, this can often lead to anxiety symptoms becoming more severe. It may also cause the development of co-occurring conditions and addictions. 

That is why seeking professional help is so vital. And when looking for a tried and trusted solution that guarantees effects, choose The Dawn’s mental health retreat

Our Thai Wellness Centre is located in the tranquil riverfront sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. It offers the perfect and peaceful environment for treating all kinds of mental health conditions and addictions, including various anxiety disorders. 

Our clinical team includes mental health professionals who specialise in treating anxiety and its co-occurring issues, including depression and trauma. Throughout our years of service, we’ve helped numerous Aussies overcome their addictions and mental health conditions, providing an exceptional approach to wellness and rehabilitation. 

Learn why Australians choose The Dawn Rehab Thailand and see for yourself what makes our wellness centre so special. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.

Key Takeaways

Anxiety disorders remain the most common mental health condition in Australia. According to various studies, approximately 1 in 4 Aussies have or will experience some form of anxiety at some stage of their lives, with nearly 17% of all mental health conditions in Australia being related to anxiety. 

These are worrying numbers, especially considering that only 27% of Australians seek professional help with anxiety disorder. Such an approach can lead to disastrous consequences, as untreated anxiety can have severe effects on one’s personal, social, and professional life. It may also lead to the development of co-occurring conditions, such as depression and insomnia. 

That is why seeking professional help with anxiety is so important. And when it comes to that, choosing The Dawn’s Anxiety Retreat in Thailand is a tried and trusted solution for Australians battling anxiety disorders. Through our unique wellness programme, our clinical team will help you understand the cause of your anxiety and learn how to cope with it, providing you with a tailored solution for your condition. All that while staying in the beautiful and peaceful wellness centre in Northern Thailand.

Q: How common is anxiety in Australia?

A: Anxiety disorder is the leading mental health condition Aussies struggle with. According to official reports, nearly 17% of all Aussies with mental health problems have a form of anxiety disorder, with the most affected age group being adolescents and young adults aged 16-24 (31% of all cases).

Q: What causes anxiety in Australians?

A: It’s difficult to determine why anxiety is such a common issue in Australia. There are many possible causes of anxiety disorders, including social stigma, genetics, biology, and wrong treatment. However, with only 27% of Australians seeking professional treatment, it’s clear that the anxiety issue is underestimated Down Under.

Q: When should I seek help for anxiety?

A: Whenever you feel your anxiety symptoms become more frequent and severe, it might indicate you’ve developed an anxiety disorder. If you start noticing worrying patterns, contact a professional mental health specialist to diagnose what type of anxiety disorder you have and what kind of treatment will work best in your case.

Q: Where can Australians seek help for anxiety disorders?

A: There are numerous resources and support Australians with anxiety can use, mostly available through Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute. These organisations also run support groups for people with mental health conditions. Many Australians also choose wellness retreats outside Australia, seeking help from wellness centres like The Dawn, which is a highly popular destination for Aussies battling anxiety, depression, and addictions. 

Q: Why do Aussies choose treatment retreats outside Australia?

A: Mental health and anxiety retreats outside Australia provide patients with an opportunity to treat their condition in peaceful surroundings without triggers and events that may cause anxious feelings and attacks. Furthermore, they can also talk to people who share similar conditions. Such circumstances can provide significant help in treatment effectiveness.

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