NSW Anxiety Disorders Treatment Centre (NSWADTC) is a private treatment centre located in Newcastle NSW Australia and you can make an appointment to see one of our psychologists any time you wish. Staff at the centre are dedicated to providing professional, effective, evidence based treatments for people experiencing anxiety disorders and depression. NSWADTC Psychologists have put together this web site as a starting point to assist in the understanding of anxiety disorders and what's required to effectively treat them. We hope you find the information useful, but remember the information provided can never substitute for the assistance you may obtain in person from a registered psychologist and particularly one who specialises in treating anxiety disorders. Follow the links below and to the left to find further information on the issues that affect you and please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to hear more about our treatment options. Please note also that this site will be receiving additions to its content over time, so don't forget to save this page to your favourites list (right click and highlight 'add to favourites' in your web browser) and check back from time to time for more information on the issues that affect you.
At any given time around 9.7% of the Australian population meet the criteria for a diagnosis of panic disorder. This means that almost one in ten people are experiencing frequent and often debilitating panic/anxiety attacks. Anyone can experience panic attacks and they often start for reasons which aren't obvious. Symptoms include racing heart, lightheadedness, shakiness, dry throat, sweating, nausea and feelings of intense fear or impending doom. Typically when they first occur you worry that you might be going crazy, losing control, having a heart attack/stroke, or that you wont be able to breathe. It's important to know that none of these things can happen as a result of panic attacks no matter how strongly it may feel like it. The good news about panic attacks is that they are often completely curable typically without the need for medication. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) treatment programs of between eight and sixteen consultations have been demonstrated to achieve an elimination of panic attacks in up to 94% of cases.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) or social phobia is more than just shyness (most people feel a little uncomfortable at first in social settings). A diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is typically given when a person experiences panicky feelings when in social settings or attempting to enter social settings. Symptoms can include blushing or fear of blushing (erythrophobia), heart racing, shakiness, feeling sick on the stomach, lightheaded and sweaty palms. Often excessive sweating can become the principal concern of those experiencing social anxiety perhaps leading to a diagnosis of hyperhydriosis. Cognitive behaviour therapy has been well evidenced to provide significant relief of social anxiety symptoms.
Everyone worries about things at times, however, if you experience strong, persistent and excessive worry, particularly about things that seem unrealistic, then you may be experiencing Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is a debilitating problem which affects about 5% of Australians. The principal symptom of GAD is persistent worry often leading to feeling panicky and ultimately depressed. Usually we are able to dismiss our worries without too much difficulty, but if GAD develops worries persistently re-appear causing intense frustration and anxiety. When this occurs trying to push away worries through techniques such as distraction often only makes the anxiety worse. Fortunately having the right information and using the right strategies to fight the symptoms of GAD can provide long lasting relief.
Anxiety Disorders can develop in people of all ages including children. Social anxiety (or excessive shyness) and obsessive compulsive disorder, for example, can occur in children as young as five. Excessive fear of being separated from parents or caregivers (known as separation anxiety disorder) can occur at even younger ages. Despite the media focus on other issues, recent studies have shown that anxiety disorders are present in as many as 24% of children and teens making it a far more common problem than mood disorders (7%) disruptive disorders (8%) and substance abuse (4%). If left untreated childhood anxiety disorders often lead to the development of ongoing difficulties in many areas of adult life.
Everybody feels sad or "down in the dumps" at one time or another. This does not mean that you have depression. People who have depression almost constantly feel down for long periods of time and this interferes significantly with their daily lives. Depression changes how you act, think and feel and typically results in you having little or no energy or motivation to get up and on with your day. A little recognised fact about depression is that most people who have it have been experiencing strong anxiety for some time and the anxiety has directly contributed to the onset of the depression. When this is the case successfully treating the anxiety typically results in full recovery from the depressive symptoms
We all have certain routines that we perform in our daily lives. When obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) develops these routines become excessive, typically being repeated more often and for a longer period of time than necessary. Often routines develop that would not usually be necessary at all, but typically, despite knowing this, you still feel compelled to repeat them until you can feel comfortable. At any given time OCD is thought to affect around 2.5% of the population although recent findings have indicated that this figure may be even higher. OCD can develop in both children and adults alike
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder for which symptoms develop as a consequence of exposure to a traumatic life threatening event such as war, accidents, natural disasters, sexual or physical assault or domestic violence. The person may have experienced the traumatic event directly or they may have witnessed it. People who suffer from PTSD typically experience intense emotional distress when recalling traumatic memories or when exposed to situations that are similar to the traumatic event
Phobias can develop in relation to just about anything. More common phobias include agoraphobia (fear of open public or crowded places), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), nyctophobia (fear of the dark), acrophobia (fear of heights), aviatophobia (fear of flying) claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces such as elevators) and gephyrophobia (fear of bridges or crossing them). The primary symptoms of a specific phobia involve feeling intense fear/panic when near the feared object or situation. Specific phobias can usually be successfully treated using brief behaviour therapy
If you have received treatment for your anxiety or depression in the past and achieved only limited results don't be disheartened. Not all therapists or treatments are the same and some are more effective than others. Recent developments in anxiety and depression treatment has brought essential new understandings which until recently went largely unrecognised. For example a problem termed 'relaxation induced anxiety' can make it virtually impossible for relaxation techniques to assist in the long term alleviation of anxiety disorders. In fact attempting relaxation techniques in these cases tends to make anxiety worse, only relieving symptoms temporarily at best by distracting your mind. In these cases an effective alternative treatment is indicated
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