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Most people experience feeling of anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation or first date. Anxiety disorders, however, are illnesses that fill people’s lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear that are chronic, unremitting, and can grow progressively worse. Tormented by panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, or countless frightening physical symptoms, some people with anxiety disorders even become housebound. Fortunately, through research, there are effective treatments that can help. The Depression and Anxiety Support Group is conducting a national education campaign to increase awareness of these disorders and their treatments.

How Common Are Anxiety Disorders?

What Are the Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders?

What Are Effective Treatments for Anxiety Disorders?

Treatments have been largely developed through research. They help many people with anxiety disorders and often combine medication and specific types of psychotherapy.

More medication are available than ever before to effectively treat anxiety disorders. These include groups of drugs called antidepressants and benzodiazepines. If one medication is not effective, other can be tried. New medications are currently under development to treat anxiety symptoms.

Two clinically proven effective forms of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders are behavioural therapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy. Behavioural therapy focuses on changing specific actions and uses several techniques to stop unwanted behaviours. In addition to the behavioural therapy techniques, cognitive-behavioural therapy teaches patients to understand and change their thinking patterns so that they can react differently to the situations that cause them anxiety. The Depression and Anxiety Support Group will be able to refer you to specialists in your area. They can be contacted on (011) 783 1474/6 or 884-1797 from Monday to Saturday between 8 am and 7pm. They also distribute brochures and newsletters on all the different anxiety disorders.

Do Anxiety Disorders Co-Exist with Other Physical or Mental Disorders?

It is so common for an anxiety disorder to accompany depression, eating disorders, substance abuse or another anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can also co-exist with physical disorders. In such instances, the accompanying disorders will also need to be treated. Before beginning any treatment, however, it is important to have a thorough medical examination to rule out other possible causes of symptoms.