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The average Aussie takes over 8 years to seek help for anxiety

New research shows that, as a nation, we are significantly underestimating how long it takes for someone afflicted by anxiety to seek the treatment they need.

According to a YouGov Galaxy survey – which received responses from 1,027 adults, conducted on behalf of NPS MedicineWise – 69 per cent of Australians believe that it takes people five years or less to seek help for their anxiety. However, the average period of time it takes for someone living with an anxiety disorder to seek professional help is actually 8.2 years.

NPS MedicineWise GP and medical adviser Dr Jeannie Yoo said many such delays are caused by the time it takes for someone to recognise that the symptoms they are experiencing could be due to an anxiety disorder.

“Once they do, it can be a great relief for them to understand that the way they feel is due to a treatable condition and that this condition is not uncommon,” she said.

Further, while 66 per cent of survey respondents recognised face-to-face counselling or psychological treatments as effective, only 13 per cent of those surveyed thought that online treatment programs are effective for treating anxiety.

“Clinical studies have shown that online treatment programs can be just as effective as face-to-face treatment,” says Dr Yoo.

“Online treatments may be an accessible option for some people, and many of these programs are available for free.”

“It is important for people to remember that there are effective treatments for anxiety,” she concluded.

“Seeking help from your doctor is an important first step in feeling better.”

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain