It is normal and healthy to feel anxious sometimes and particularly now while the community deals with COVID-19. Healthy anxiety can actually help us. It makes us alert and helps us do things well.
For example, if we are a bit anxious before playing sport or doing an exam, it can make us perform better. If we are in danger, feeling anxious can help us escape from the situation.
However if we become too anxious, it can stop us thinking clearly.
When anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it affects your day-to-day life, it’s a good time to seek help – your GP is the best person to speak to first.
What is the difference between healthy anxiety and problem anxiety?
Healthy anxiety lasts only a short time or happens only occasionally and in an isolated, stressful situation. Healthy anxiety doesn’t affect your daily life.
If you are worried about things that could cause a problem, then that is a healthy reaction.
Problem anxiety, on the other hand, can last for months or years and isn’t always linked to a stressful situation. If you feel anxious often or if it stops you from doing things this could be considered unhealthy.
The good news is that there are simple steps to take to get the help you need. One of the most important things you can do is to reach out to your GP for help and to get a referral to see a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are experts in mental health and in helping people manage their anxiety.
When seeking help it is important to find the right practitioner for you. The ‘Find a Psychiatrist’ tool will help you find a psychiatrist in your area of need.
If you think you or someone you know could harm themselves or others, get urgent help.
- Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia or 0800 543 354 in New Zealand.
- Dial triple zero (000) in Australia or triple one (111) in New Zealand.
- Go to a hospital emergency department.