The mental health of Australians 2

5. Anxiety disorders in Australia

Page last updated: May 2009

The 2007 survey asked about six types of anxiety disorders. All six share the common experience of intense and debilitating anxiety. These are as follows:

  • Panic disorder
    Sudden bursts of extreme anxiety that are accompanied by symptoms like a pounding heart, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath or nausea.

  • Agoraphobia
    Anxiety about being in places or situations from which it is difficult to escape should a panic attack occur.

  • Social phobia (also called social anxiety disorder)
    Strong fear of social interaction or performance situations because of the potential for embarrassment of humiliation.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
    Long periods of uncontrollable worry about everyday issues or events, which is typically accompanied by feelings of fatigue, restlessness or difficulty concentrating.

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
    Recurrent and intrusive memories of a trauma, feelings of emotional numbing and detachment, and increases in emotional arousal, such as irritability and disturbed sleep, resulting from a previous traumatic event.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    Repeated thoughts, images or impulses that the person feels are inappropriate, and repetitive behaviours, designed to reduce the anxiety generated by the thoughts.