Many parents are confused about the nature of anxiety and especially, when to really worry about it. Anxiety refers to feelings of worry, nervousness, or a sense of apprehension, typically about an upcoming event where the outcome is uncertain, or where a young person feels he or she might not be up to the task.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) defines anxiety as ‘commonly experienced in high pressure situations, for example, prior to a making a speech or sitting an exam. Feelings of anxiety can also arise following a stressful event, like an accident where the person is left feeling shaken. Anxious feelings are usually accompanied by physical sensations such as a churning stomach, light headedness, and a racing heart.’
The APS says, ‘While anxiety is considered a natural reaction to a stressful situation, for some people anxious thoughts, feelings, or physical symptoms can become severe and upsetting, interfering with their ability to go about their daily lives. Where symptoms of anxiety occur frequently, occur over a period of time, and interfere with daily life, it is typically considered an anxiety disorder.’
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental disorders diagnosed in Australia. According to the APS there are a number of different types of anxiety disorder, including: