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If anxiety has started to affect your life, there are places you can go for help. You might consider talking to a mental health professional or contacting a support service if you're wondering how to help anxiety.

This can help if:

  • anxiety is affecting your life
  • you’re worried you have an anxiety disorder
  • you would like more information on treatments and support services for anxiety.
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Signs that you need treatment

Feeling anxious at times is normal; but if your anxiety is interfering with your everyday life, then you may need some anxiety help.

Signs that your anxiety has become a problem include:

  • you avoid places or situations as a way to manage your anxiety.
  • you have difficulty concentrating.
  • you’re not sleeping well.
  • you feel ‘on edge’ a lot of the time.
  • you feel that you can’t control your anxiety.

Types of treatment

If you think you need professional support, there are various types of mental health professionals who can help, including psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, social workers and youth workers.

The treatment with the best research evidence for most anxiety disorders is called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

CBT involves working with a clinical psychologist to look at patterns of thinking (cognition) and actions (behaviour) that make you feel anxious. Over time, CBT aims to challenge and change your unhelpful thinking patterns, as well as help you to develop coping skills and reduce your anxiety.

Exposure is an important aspect of CBT that involves confronting things or situations that you usually avoid because they cause you to feel anxious. Taking small steps in exposing yourself to these situations demonstrates that you can cope with them, rather than avoid them.

Medication is often prescribed to treat anxiety and is known to be effective when taken in combination with CBT and other self-help strategies.

To get started, make an appointment with your GP, who can give you a referral to an appropriate medical health professional.

Support services

Numerous support services are available for you to contact for more information about anxiety disorders and treatment.

beyondblue and Youthbeyondblue have screening questionnaires for depression and anxiety.

Anxiety Online is an online screening and assessment program. E-therapy is also available (for a fee).

headspace provides mental health advice, support and information for young people. Youth workers and psychologists are also available to speak to.

BRAVE Self-Help is an online therapy tool that can be completed at home and at your own pace. BRAVE Self-Help is available to all young people living in Australia aged 7 to 17 years. There are also versions of the program for parents.

E-couch is an online cognitive behavioural therapy designed for working through anxiety and is most helpful if used alongside professional help.

Anxiety Recovery Centre is an organisation that provides information on a wide range of anxiety disorders and has a helpline for referrals to mental health professionals.

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