Three million Australians experience it, yet many still think anxiety is simply feeling stressed.
But anxiety is a treatable mental health illness that is more common than depression in Australia, says mental health charity beyondblue.
A new survey of 700 Australians found half believe anxiety is a part of someone’s personality.
And 40 per cent think anxiety is when a person feels stressed.
The findings have prompted beyondblue to revive its national anxiety campaign, which centres on a short film starring actor Ben Mendelsohn.
“Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 26 percent of people experience an anxiety condition in their lives and nearly three million currently have an anxiety condition, making it more common than depression,” said beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman.
Ms Harman says the charity wants to remind Australians that anxiety is a major mental health problem that can be treated successfully.
“You don’t have to put up with it,” she said.
“Anxiety is a debilitating condition that robs people of their peace of mind.
“It can stop people leaving their homes, holding down a job, maintaining relationships or doing everyday things because of irrational fears of what could happen.
“No one should have to live with the relentless worrying, panic attacks or compulsive rituals that often characterise anxiety conditions.”
MOST COMMON ANXIETY DISORDERS:
* Panic disorder: when a person has panic attacks, involving often uncontrollable feelings of anxiety combined with a range of physical symptoms.
* Generalised anxiety disorder: when a person feels anxious on most days, for a period of six months or more.
* Social phobia: when a person has intense fear of being criticised or embarrassed even in everyday situations.
* Specific phobias: when a person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation, eg having an injection or travelling on a plane.
* Obsessive compulsive disorder: when a person has ongoing unwanted thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. They often try to relieve their anxiety by carrying out certain behaviours, eg washing hands.
* Post-traumatic stress disorder: This can happen after a person experiences a traumatic event, eg war, assault, accident, disaster.