With 8.2 years to treatment, we need to reduce the anxious wait

A new survey released today by NPS MedicineWise shows that most Australians underestimate how long it typically takes for someone with an anxiety disorder to seek and receive help.

According to the new YouGov Galaxy survey*, more than two in three (69%) of Australians estimate it takes people 5 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 a huge 8.2 years.

Dr Jeannie Yoo, GP and medical adviser at NPS MedicineWise says that much of the delay is due to 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,” says Dr Yoo.

While two-thirds (66%) of respondents recognised face-to-face counselling or psychological treatments as effective, only 13% 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.”

Psychological treatments along with antidepressant medicines are the two primary approaches for treating anxiety disorders, and are the focus of a new nationwide educational program by NPS MedicineWise which will see health professionals around the country updated in the best-practice treatment options for these conditions.

“It is important for people to remember that there are effective treatments for anxiety,” says Dr Yoo. “Seeking help from your doctor is an important first step in feeling better.”

More information on the new NPS MedicineWise educational program for consumers and health professionals on the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders can be found on the NPS MedicineWise website at www.nps.org.au/anxiety.

*YouGov Galaxy poll of 1027 adults conducted in February 2019 for NPS MedicineWise.


This media release comes with a fact sheet including the survey findings as well as other facts and figures about anxiety.

The survey results will be released at an online media event on 8 April 2019 at 11:00 AEST. Journalists are welcome to join the event.

Spokespeople are available for media interviews.


Fact sheet

This fact sheet includes survey findings as well as other facts and figures about anxiety.


Media contact

Matthew Harris
Media adviser
02 8217 9229, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]