Is anxiety a modern epidemic? An inner city Sydney doctor thinks so.

It would seem as though anxiety is becoming an epidemic in Sydney these days.

As a GP, working in an inner city practice, I see patients regularly presenting for a referral to a psychologist to help manage their anxiety. These are mostly young professional adults, working and living in Sydney city, with good family support and an extensive social network.

Why are they anxious you ask? Workplace issues. Housemate issues. Or just generally feeling overwhelmed with life.

I understand that Sydney is a busy city, There are a lot of demands on people, and a lot of things that need to get done, and not much time. But when did we become a society that lacked resilience and were unable to take care of our own emotions?

People often fail to realise that anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Everyone has anxiety, and it is often a good thing, even though we may not feel so good at the time.

"When did we become a society that lacked resilience and were unable to take care of our own emotions?" (Image: iStock)

Anxiety can become a problem, however, when it starts interfering with one’s daily life, and you struggle to control the feelings.

When, and if, that does happen though, do we always need it ‘treated’ by seeing a psychologist or starting on mood-stabilising medication.

What happened to talking to family and friends – those who are closest to us and know us best?

What happened to engaging in regular, routine exercise that helps release endorphins, or finding a hobby that brings us enjoyment and allows us to relax?

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These alternatives are usually easily accessible, cheaper, and often more effective than seeing a psychologist, primarily because it’s more sustainable.

I respect that everyone is different, and that taking the initiative is not always easy. I also have a lot of respect for psychologists and the work that they do, having seen one myself.

But to those of you who do have anxiety, or think you might have anxiety, remember it is inherent in the human condition, and there are often ways you can manage it yourself.

Do you agree? Are we losing the ability to control our own emotions on a day-to-day basis?