Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem affecting Australians.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 9.7% or 1.3 million adult Australians (12% women and 7.1% men) during a 12 month period (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1997).
  • The onset of anxiety disorders is generally in early to late adolescence. Various research studies report anxiety disorder prevalence rates between 5.7% to 15.4% in children ranging in age from 7 to 11 years old, and rates of 8.7% to 17.7% in adolescents aged 12 to 18 years old.
  • The population of people in Victoria who will suffer from an anxiety disorder, at some time during their life, is estimated to be 600,000.
  • Anxiety disorders affect people from all walks of life.
  • The causes of anxiety disorders are likely to be a complex interaction between several factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events.
  • The progressive development of symptoms in an anxiety disorder, including increasing frequency, complexity and severity of symptoms, is a consequence of a reinforcement cycle inherent in the symptoms themselves, and other factors which have a significant impact on a person's emotional, mental and physical well-being.
  • Common or core features of all of the anxiety disorders include - excessive worry; hyper-vigilance; avoidance; emotional distress and tension; faulty and irrational thinking; physical anxiety reactions.
  • The thoughts and behaviours associated with an anxiety disorder are generally extreme or excessive versions of normal thoughts and behaviours.
  • While the impact of an anxiety disorder can be severe and debilitating on a person's life, anxiety disorders do not impair a person's intellectual capacity, level of insight or awareness of reality.
  • Severity in an anxiety disorder is generally associated with social isolation, inability to leave the home, no or little respite from symptoms, depression, and consequential negative impacts on relationships, education, employment and finances.
  • People with anxiety disorders generally seek to hide their symptoms and problems from their family, work or school peers and the community, due to strong feelings of embarrassment and shame regarding their difficulties.
  • People with severe anxiety disorders may experience difficulties in their ability to undertake many routine and life-sustaining activities and become highly dependent upon carers and family members, which may lead to significant distress and problems in the family.
  • Many people with an anxiety disorder also suffer with depression, sleep disorders, and physical health problems that are related to stress such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (link for further information).
  • Anxiety disorders are treatable with psychological therapies, or medication, or both.
  • Recovery from an anxiety disorder is possible with specialist treatment, education, support and self-management skills.

Our Helpline:

OCD & Anxiety HelpLine 03 9830 0533

or 1300 ANXIETY or 1300 269 438

Office Number:

Phone  03 9830 0566
Fax  03 9830 4793


292 Canterbury Road Surrey Hills Vic 3127 Melway Map 46 F11

Postal Address:

PO Box 367 Canterbury Vic 3126