Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think may occur in the future. Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a typical response to pressurised situations, they usually pass once the ‘stressor’ has been removed. Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don't go away and overpower your ability to focus on other things other than worry.

Most people feel anxious at times. It's particularly common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a significant impact on your life.

Anxiety can be experienced in lots of different ways. If your experiences meet specific criteria, your concern may be more than a passing phase, and you may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Why do I need to see a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist can diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe medication to manage them. Typically, a psychologist will refer you to a psychiatrist if they feel that you need more than counselling to manage your anxiety or that you have a medical problem that needs to be corrected for you to get better.

Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren't easily controlled. Dr Michelle Vlok-Barnard will be able to talk to you are find possibly give you a diagnosis and a treatment plan based on your symptoms and what will work best for your lifestyle. While taking your medication and getting counselling, self-care is essential in managing anxiety disorders.

It is vital that you avoid self-medicating by taking drugs and alcohol. Reduce your caffeine intake because it tends to trigger anxiety especially if you have already been diagnosed with a related disorder. If self-help resources are not likely to help with the anxiety problems you're experiencing, or you've already tried them, and they haven't helped it may be helpful to book an appointment.

Treatment recommended for anxiety and panic:

Cognitive behavioural therapy: This focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour and then teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems that may be contributing to your anxiety.

Applied relaxation therapy: This involves learning how to relax your muscles in situations where you usually experience anxiety.