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A National Anxiety Disorders Awareness day is to be held throughout South Africa on October 10th, highlighting October as Mental Health Month. A series of free anxiety screenings will be conducted countrywide on the day between 9am to 3pm, offering advice and help in an easily accessible manner. Parke-Med, manufacturers of Alzam, are sponsoring the day’s proceedings.

The National Anxiety awareness day was created in order to educate and inform the public about the anxiety disorders, which affect more than 25% of the population. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental illnesses affecting South Africa today, and can easily lead to substance abuse, job loss, family breakdowns and even suicide. “In spite of anxiety disorders being the most common of the mental illnesses, they remain the least well-known and understood in society”, says Milly Arensen of the Libertas Hospitals, who are supporting the day.

Anxiety disorders include both well-known and less familiar disorders, including :

With effective treatment, these illnesses need not negatively affect the quality of life of Anxiety disorder sufferers. The disorders respond very well to treatment incorporating a combination of medication and behavioural therapy, with the details of the treatment being individually drawn up for each patient.

The Mental Health Information Centre of South Africa and the Depression & Anxiety Support Group will be co-ordinating the anxiety screenings, in an attempt to increase the number of people who seek help and obtain treatment for their illness. To be hosted at twenty locations throughout South Africa, the screenings will provide thousands of South Africans with the opportunity to be assessed, free of charge, as to whether they suffer from one of the disorders. The screening programme will include the viewing of a video, completion of a screening questionnaire based on a widely-used American questionnaire as well as meeting with Psychiatric Nurses (or Psychiatrists) to review the questionnaire. Free brochures and information pertaining to the various anxiety disorders will also be available.