Anxiety Symptoms and Treatment

Counselling for Anxiety in Mill Park and Footscray

To support you, it is important to discuss anxiety symptoms, anxiety treatment, and counselling support. There is a spectrum of anxiety, and everybody has a different experience with the condition. For some, anxiety may be a mild inconvenience without impacting significantly on daily functioning. Other may experience a more intense form of anxiety, that can have a significant impact on daily life, potentially resulting in an avoidance of certain situations that may cause undue stress. Here we define stress, fear and anxiety; we understand the symptoms and diagnostic criteria as well as the helpful and unhelpful anxiety treatment options. By better understanding anxiety, we hope you find the right help for you.


The emotion fear has helped humans survive in many areas of life. When we think of fear, we also think of danger. Physiologically, fear results in the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal glands. These hormones have numerous effects, including increased heart rate and increasing blood flow towards the muscles, in preparation for a dangerous situation. The flood of adrenaline and noradrenaline instructs our brains to go into either ‘flight’, ‘fight’, or ‘freeze’ modes. When this response is repeated numerous times, a phobia can be created due to the effects of neuroplasticity.

For example, someone who has arachnophobia (fear of spiders). The important thing to remember is that a phobia is persistent and out of proportion to the actual risk (danger) present. The body fear response and avoidance of the stimulus causing the fear is common in phobias. This can be in extreme cases where someone with arachnophobia cant like at a photo of a spider that clearly cannot hurt them.

Stress and Anxiety

Signs You are Doing Too MuchStress is often a triggered experience, and can either be viewed in terms of ‘positive stress’ and ‘negative stress’. ‘Positive stress’ is used to describe a situation where feelings of stress motivate a person to overcome a problem. For example, someone may feel stressed about an upcoming test, and use this stress as motivation to study. On the other hand, ‘negative stress’, also called distress, is a situation where we perceive no attainable positive outcome and can enter a state of anxiety. In this situation, rather than studying for a test, for example, someone may perceive themselves as failing and stress over future consequences.

Anxiety is an intense form of prolonged stress that can be difficult to overcome. As counsellors, we often talk about the ‘Three Ps’ when discussing the difference between anxiety and stress – pronounced, pervasive and prolonged. Put simply, when the stress becomes so intense it interferes with regular daily functioning and lasts longer than usual, we consider this to be anxiety. Often, anxiety pushes a person to perceive the absolute worst outcome to a situation, even if this may be unreasonable or illogical.

Generalised anxiety is even more intense and extreme than anxiety, and affects almost all aspects of life due to unrelenting stress and worry. Often, generalised anxiety results in restlessness, agitations and sleep disturbances. People often feel overwhelmed, and numerous aspects of life tend to suffer, including work and relationships. People experiencing generalised anxiety frequently withdraw from situations they perceive as stressful. This can lead to social isolation, which only further exacerbates the issue at hand.

Stress, Anxiety and the 3 p’s.

The stress response can be a positive or negative experience. For example, the stress of failing a test is often experienced by young people. For some, this motivates and pushes people to study, but for others, the stress can prevent the person from trying. Whereas anxiety is different and this can occur when the worry is pronounced, pervasive, prolonged (remember 3 p’s) and it is based around a future threat. Both anxiety and stress can be linked with unhealthy negative thinking and worry, thinking of worst-case scenarios like thinking they may need to drop out of their course, may never be able to qualify and therefore be unemployable. This thinking can be challenged either in counselling or with CBT techniques like cognitive restructuring or unravelling cognitive distortions. This particular thought pattern is out of proportion to the actual events that MAY occur IF the person fails. So, while stress and anxiety can be seen as similar in terms of symptoms, Anxiety is often more intense and generally focused on one aspect of life. With Generalised Anxiety, the person experiences symptoms like restlessness, agitation and sleep disturbance due to a number of life domains that seem out of control of the person.

1Anxiety Symptoms
What is it like to experience anxiety?

There are a number of symptoms associated with anxiety. Some may be present constantly, others may change in intensity over time. Anxiety symptoms include:

•Restlessness, or feeling ‘on edge’
•Being easily fatigued
•Difficult concentrating, or your mind going blank or being easily distracted
•Difficulty focusing on anything other than the issue that is causing stress
•Muscle tension
•Sleep disturbance

Acute anxiety or an anxiety or panic attack can occur when anxiety is met with activation of the adrenergic pathways that result in the mass release of adrenaline into the bloodstream. Symptoms of acute anxiety are more intense, and include:

•Increased heart rate (often above 100 beats per minute when at rest)
•Trembling or shaking
•Feeling shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
•A feeling of tightness in the chest or throat, almost a choking sensation

A.Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
B.The individual finds it difficult to control the worry.
C.The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms having been present for more days than not for the past 6 months):
oNote: Only one item is required in children.

1.Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
2.Being easily fatigued.
3.Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
5.Muscle tension.
6.Sleep disturbance

C.The symptoms cause significant distress and impact upon the person's interactions with others and regular functioning.
2Treatment for Anxiety
Anxiety Medication

Anxiolytic medications, or medications designed to stop the anxiety cycle, can be prescribed by a doctor, usually either a GP or a psychiatrist. There are generally two methods that can be utilised to treat anxiety with pharmaceuticals. The first of these is using a benzodiazepine type medication. These medications are usually prescribed in a manner that allows you to take them when you feel your anxiety increasing, and feel at risk of an anxiety attack. The medication activates inhibitory pathways in the brain to counter the effects of increased circulating adrenaline. The other method frequently prescribed is a daily anxiolytic or antidepressant medication, aimed at reducing the influence of adrenaline on the brain. While medications can be helpful in masking symptoms, they don’t necessarily correct the underlying issues related to anxiety. Often counselling is beneficial alongside anti-anxiety medications and can be useful for finding non-pharmacological ways of managing anxiety. It is important to discuss any pharmaceutical therapy with your GP or psychiatrist.

Note: We are not medical practitioners, and are not providing any medical advice. You will need to discuss all aspects of pharmacological therapy with your GP or specialist, including starting, stopping, or altering anti-anxiety medications.

Counselling for Anxiety

YES WE OFFER MEDICARE REBATES: this significantly reduces the price of counselling for you. Medicare rebated sessions can be organised with Stuart Cheverton or Prue Gilligan. to find out more about organising this please contact our team directly on 0411 791 089 or email via

At Safe Place Therapy, we put you and your experiences first. We understand that everybody has a unique experience with anxiety, and pride ourselves on being non-judgemental, as well as providing you with a safe place to discuss your emotions and experiences without feeling vulnerable. Our role is to listen to you, to understand your life with anxiety, and to help you manage your symptoms and put some balance back into your life. In our first few sessions, we focus on helping you recognise the signs of increasing anxiety before you reach the panic point, and design strategies for you to use when you feel your anxiety increasing. We go beyond the standard ‘breathing techniques’ and ‘mindfulness’ that other counsellors may prescribe, and find strategies that work for you personally, and can be used anywhere, whether at work or at home. We employ a range of counselling styles to help you understand your anxiety and to help you manage and overcome the difficulties it may place on your daily life. We aim to provide you with real, long-term solutions so that you can enjoy an anxiety-free life.

Finding the right support for your anxiety experience can be difficult. At Safe Place Therapy we are here to help you. This is what makes us different from other counselling for anxiety:

We are affordable and flexible: our session costs are much more reasonable than others, and we offer low-cost options and Medicare rebated sessions to eligible clients
We are human first and professionals second: Our clients love that we don’t lecture them or preach as an expert. Our job is to be a human being and work with you.
We offer support and understanding: We want to understand your story and unpack your experience, working with you towards your goals.
We are a safe place: This is more than just a physical safety, it’s about providing unique and tailored therapy that is non-judgemental and appropriate for each individual.

If you think anxiety is taking charge of you, please reach out and make a time by clicking on the book a time not button below links. Have more questions? Phone us on 0411 791 089 or email


Appointments cost $130 per session.This is well below many other services who charge $160 or more. Safe Place Therapy does offer a lower cost rate for clients needing this. Please contact us directly if you have any questions.
Medicare rebates can be claimed for counselling with Prue Gilligan. This needs to be arranged through your local GP and getting a referral to our service. If you would like further information please contact us.

Footscray services close by to Footscray train station and easily accessible from Yarraville, Newport, Williamstown and surrounding areas.
Mill Park Services close by to Epping, South Morang, Thomastown and surrounding areas

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