Anxiety disorders are common. One in ten Australians experience an anxiety disorder. Common anxiety disorders after trauma are generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Some people experience anxiety alongside other problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and alcohol or drug use.

Treatment options: Anxiety

Effective treatments for anxiety are available including counselling, medication, or a combination of both.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of counselling treatment for anxiety disorders. During CBT treatment you will learn how your own thoughts and actions may be causing you to feel anxious and how you can change those unhelpful thoughts and feel better.

During your counselling sessions you will learn some simple effective strategies to manage your feelings and reduce your anxiety including:

  • Simple ways to manage day-to-day stresses so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • How to tune in to the ‘hidden’ unhelpful thoughts you have that might be contributing to your anxiety (like “I can’t do anything right” or “I can’t cope”), and find ways to manage them that work for you.
  • How to control your fears and worries about the physical symptoms you experience during panic attacks (e.g., fears of having a heart attack or going crazy).
  • How to face situations that you have been avoiding or are afraid of in a way that makes you feel safe and in control.
  • Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises and other strategies, to help you manage your anxiety.

CBT can be very successful in helping people to manage their anxiety, and it is recommended that it should be the first treatment you try. However, your GP or psychiatrist may also prescribe medication if you need some extra support to manage your symptoms. Usually this will be an antidepressant medication that will help to reduce anxiety symptoms. Other medications that target anxiety more specifically may also be prescribed.


In some cases, CBT or IPT might be combined with anti-depressant medication to help you manage your feelings. If you choose not to have counselling, or a CBT or IPT counsellor is not available for you to see, you may be prescribed anti-depressant medication on its own.


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call Lifeline on

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