top of page

Worry, Anxiety, Panic

What is Worry, Anxiety, and Panic?

Anxiety Treatment and Counselling in Sydney and Balmain

Worry, anxiety, and panic are very common reasons people come to see a psychologist. This is because anxiety is a natural human emotion that is designed to help us survive. However, sometimes anxiety can become excessive and interfere with our daily lives.

Anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, including physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, and shortness of breath. It can also lead to cognitive symptoms such as negative thoughts and intrusive worries. In some cases, anxiety can even lead to panic attacks, which are characterised by intense episodes of fear and physical discomfort.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in Australia, affecting 1 in 4 Australians at some stage in their life. There are different types of anxiety disorders, such as generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Each of these disorders has its own specific symptoms and causes, but they all share a common feature of excessive and uncontrollable anxiety that impairs one’s quality of life.

Therapy for Anxiety

At Treat Yourself Well, we understand that anxiety can be a debilitating condition. We offer a variety of therapy approaches that can be tailored to your individual needs. Some of the most common therapy approaches for anxiety include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT focuses on helping you to identify and challenge the negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to your anxiety.

  • Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that you fear in order to reduce your anxiety response.

  • Mindfulness-based therapy: Mindfulness-based therapy teaches you how to focus on the present moment and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment.

If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or panic attacks, you don’t have to suffer alone. There are effective treatments available that can help you overcome your anxiety and regain your confidence and happiness. At Treat Yourself Well, we offer evidence-based psychological therapy for anxiety disorders, tailored to your individual needs and goals. Our registered psychologists are experienced and compassionate professionals who can help you understand the nature and causes of your anxiety, teach you coping skills and strategies to manage your symptoms, and guide you through the process of recovery. We also provide support and education for your family and friends who may be affected by your anxiety.

Types of Anxiety

Physical Anxiety

Any threats that occur in day to day life (e.g., being chased by a large dog; being involved in a car accident; being pulled over by the police when driving) cause a series of changes to occur automatically in the body. Once the brain becomes aware of danger, hormones are released. The involuntary nervous system then sends signals to various parts of the body to prepare the body to 'fight' or to flee ('flight').


This response is called the 'fight-or-flight' response and is associated with the following physical and mental changes:

Symptoms associated with the fight-or-flight response

  • The mind becomes alert

  • Blood clotting ability increases, preparing for possible injury

  • Heart rate speeds up and blood pressure rises

  • Sweating increases to help cool the body

  • Blood is diverted to the muscles which tense ready for action

  • Digestion slows down

  • Saliva production decreases causing a dry mouth

  • Breathing rate speeds up - nostrils and air passages in lungs open wider to get in air more quickly

  • Liver releases sugar to provide quick energy

  • Sphincter muscles contract to close the openings of the bowel and bladder

  • Immune responses decrease (which is useful in the short-term to allow massive response to immediate threat, but can become harmful over a long period)

  • Fear and apprehension

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Restlessness

  • Cold and clammy hands

  • Hot flushes or chills

  • Feeling sick or nauseous

  • Butterflies in the stomach

The anxiety response is very good in dealing with physical threat, but it's not so good when we are dealing with psychological threat.


Reversal of the response can be produced using breathing control. While anti-anxiety medication will reduce anxiety, breathing control is the preferred method since individuals can use breathing control all their lives without any of the risks associated with anti-anxiety medication. Another way that the cycle can be interrupted is by preventing activation of the fight-or-flight response. Prevention involves attempting to reduce the stressful nature of life experiences. Stresses can be reduced with relaxation, slow breathing, or by learning how to solve problems more effectively.

Anxious Thinking

As well as being a physical response, anxiety is also characterised by a style of thinking which is threat related. Remember that when the fight-flight response is activated, the person's mind begins to think in a threat related way, that is, the brain scans the environment to see where the danger is. During anxious periods, people do not think in the same way that they do when they are relaxed. How can they, when their body is telling them that they are in mortal danger?

Anxious people have thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes which support the anxiety. For example, a person who experiences anxiety in enclosed places may think of going to the theatre in the following way "It'll be full of people. I won't be able to get out. I'll be trapped!"

Common Types of Anxiety Issues

A girl feeling sad

Panic Attacks

A panic attack is defined as a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort in which 4 or more of the following symptoms develop abruptly and peak within 10 minutes

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering

  • Feeling of choking

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • Nausea or abdominal distress

  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light headed, or faint

  • Derealisation (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (feeling detached from oneself)

  • Fear of losing control or going crazy

  • Fear of dying

  • Parasthesias (numbness or tingling sensation)

  • Chills or hot flushes

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Worry, Anxiety & Panic

Anxiety can feel like an unwelcome guest, tightening its grip on your thoughts and breath. But you don't have to be its prisoner. At Treat Yourself Well Sydney, we offer a personalized approach to untangling anxiety's web and reclaiming inner calm.

Our therapeutic journey begins with understanding your unique experience. We explore the thoughts and patterns that fuel anxiety, not with judgment, but with gentle curiosity. Through collaborative exploration, we identify triggers and cultivate coping mechanisms that empower you.

Forget about a one-size-fits-all approach. We tailor our sessions to your specific needs, drawing on a range of therapeutic tools.


We believe avoidance only strengthens anxiety's hold. So, we guide you in facing your fears, step by step, in a safe and supportive environment. With each step, you reclaim control, rewrite your narrative, and rediscover the joy of living fully.

You deserve a life free from anxiety's grip.


Take the first step today. Contact Treat Yourself Well Sydney and embark on your journey towards inner peace and lasting calm.

Want to find out more?

To learn more or to enquire about our Anxiety assessments, contact us at:, or give us a call on (02) 9555 4810.

Read More on Anxiety

Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Enjoying Nature
bottom of page