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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is being stressed an anxiety disorder?

    I'm feeling extremely overwhelmed and stressed at the moment with a lot going on in my life, often I feel like I can’t cope with it all. Is this just a phase or normal reaction or could I be suffering from anxiety?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Anthony Berrick


    Sorry to hear that you're having such a hard time at the moment. Whether you're having a ‘normal’ reaction or experiencing an anxiety ‘disorder’, if you're struggling to cope then why not seek some assistance?

    Almost everyone will experience significant stress and anxiety at some point in their lives and there's nothing wrong with getting some support to get through it. Asking for help when you need it is just being smart. I know I would take my car to a mechanic if it wasn't running properly instead of trying to fix it myself!

    As a first step, you could talk to your GP about how you've been feeling, and they can refer you to a psychologist. Otherwise, you can find a psychologist in your area through the Australian Psychological Society website 

    All the best.

  • Anonymous

    Hi my rule of thumb between calling something stress or anxiety is about your ability to cope. If you feel like you have a lot on but can struggle through - stress, if you cannot see a way through or feel overwhelmed to the point you feel you cannot cope then anxiety. This doesn't mean though you may have an anxiety disorder - you may just simply have too much on your plate. Common reasons for this include - life, not being able to say no to people, not being able to ask for help, being a people pleaser, and being a perfectionist.

    Sometimes life just works stress into our life due to a number of events happeining in quick succession that are outside of our control. If this is the case, then you may be able to “ride” it out as it is likely time-limited. If life isn't giving you a “endpoint” or any of the above reasons for increasing stress, then perhaps seeing someone, even if for just a few sessions may be helpful to get you back on track. The APS site above is a great place to look for such help.

    Hope this helps

  • Grace Gonzalez

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I am a counsellor with over two decades of experience working with non-for-profit organisations, private organizations, secondary education, community health services, and private practice in … View Profile

    You have indicated in your question that there is a lot happening in your life and this is making you feel unable to cope sometimes. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and therefore anxious if changes to your routine have taken place.

    Having said that, I would suggest for you to assess and keep an eye on how long this has been happening and what is your projection of the situation for the near future. Long exposure to a long term ‘bad’ or overwhelming situation can become a more intense and long term problem if not resolved.

    Therefore, whatever your situation might be, if you feel you are out of your depth please talk to someone who might shed some clarity or direct you to the right place to alleviate the situation.  This person might be a professional in the area or a person (friend) you trust to listen and help you break things down for better clarity.

    If you feel your anxiety levels are too high definitely talk to your doctor to assess the situation and your response to your situation.

    Good luck!

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