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Anxiety is a state of heightened alertness and fear experienced when someone believes they are at risk or in danger.  It’s a natural and healthy emotion designed to keep us safe by influencing our behaviour to take action when harm seems likely.  Examples of healthy anxiety include the fear you might feel if you happen to see a traffic accident unfold, or if you notice someone following close behind you on a dark night.  Anxiety in these situations makes us pay more attention to what’s going on around us.  We listen more closely and we pay attention to what we can see, ready to start running or to defend ourselves if it becomes clear we’re in danger.

Healthy anxiety can become unhealthy…

Anxiety becomes a problem if it’s experienced when it’s not necessary.  For example, some people experience anxiety on a daily basis and it may seem to never go away.  This type of anxiety may persist even when the person is unaware of what’s causing it.  For others, anxiety may only occur in certain situations but might start suddenly and involve an extremely intense state of fear.  These ‘short and sharp’ periods can be described as panic and include physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shaking, sweating, chest pain or a sense of difficulty breathing.  Symptoms can also include light-headedness and a concern one might faint, have a heart attack or lose physical control.  These short, sharp and intense periods of anxiety may have obvious triggers like a fear of enclosed places or heights, but sometimes it can be more difficult to identify what triggers them.  Fortunately, anxiety conditions are very treatable and modern psychological counselling is effective in alleviating these types of concerns.

Unhealthy anxiety can look different for different people…

Different forms of unhealthy or problematic anxiety exist and a diagnostic system has been developed to describe each type.  This system is described in great detail in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition (DSM-V).  Each form of problematic anxiety is listed below:


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Social Anxiety.

Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Adjustment Disorder (with anxiety).

Disclaimer:  The information covered on this website is for educational purposes only.  A diagnosis of any psychiatric or medical condition must only be made by a medical or mental health specialist.  Diagnosing a psychiatric concern is a complex process that involves formal training, do not ‘diagnose’ yourself.  If you have concerns that a particular disorder or condition applies to you, please speak with your General Practitioner for further assessment and medical/psychological care.

Individual counselling appointments are 50 minutes long.
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OGI Potential provides services to the Newport, Scarborough, Redcliffe, Margate, Kippa-Ring, Rothwell, North Lakes, Mango Hill, North Brisbane, Burpengary, Morayfield and Caboolture areas.