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For some it starts with chest pains and a shortage of breath. For others, worried thoughts and images repeatedly flood the brain.

The symptoms of anxiety are profound and diverse but they each have a common theme — the ability to interfere and stop a person from living a normal life.

While experts agree that anxiety, although unpleasant, is a normal, inevitable and important part of being human — an anxiety disorder is so much more than that.

There is comorbidity between anxiety and depression with a recent study finding 90 percent of patients with anxiety have depression. Anxiety disorders are almost always the primary condition, with onset usually occurring in childhood or adolescence.

Children as young as four can present with an anxiety disorder but it often goes unrecognised both by the person experiencing it and those around them.

There is a stigma surrounding most mental health conditions, but with anxiety people think you are weak, as if they are able to snap out of it. But it’s a real health, medical and psychological condition.

– Julia Naughton and Tom Compagnoni

Read more: This Is What I Live With: How Anxiety Affects The Everyday Life of 1 in 4 Australians