Centre for Continuing Education

Anxiety Disorders Course Online: The Foundations

Psychiatry. Encouraging a healthier community.

When it comes to anxiety disorders, Australians are struggling. How confident are you about your ability to help anxious people?

Anxiety disorders are common psychiatric conditions with a devastating effect on quality of life that is often underestimated. Unfortunately, anxiety is as misunderstood among patients and health practitioners as it is common. While 14.4% of the Australian population exhibit symptoms of anxiety disorders, only half seek treatment. Of great concern is the fact that 40% of those who do seek treatment receive misguided advice.

Despite this alarming news, there is hope. The Australian mental health community, particularly the faculty of the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney, is rallying around anxiety research and clinical treatment, and has developed this self-paced online course to give you an introduction to anxiety disorders.

If you are dealing with patients or clients with anxiety disorders, and you can not clearly explain the symptoms and underlying mechanism of anxiety disorders to them, then enrol in this course to improve your knowledge about anxiety disorders now.

Developed and delivered by the Discipline of Psychiatry at Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, and open to all health professionals for continuing professional development.

This online course is suitable for health professionals and trainees and students in the disciplines of health and medicine. Anyone who wishes to learn about anxiety disorders is welcome to participate.

The course is readily available, accepts enrolments throughout the year, and does not have any prerequisite requirements, so you can start right away. There is no need to wait for a particular day or travel to the classroom. You take full control of the pace and schedule of your learning.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • discuss the symptoms, prevalence, and burden of anxiety disorders
  • describe human body’s responses to stress
  • systematically explain how anxiety is triggered, developed, and maintained using physiological, genetic, attachment, neurobiological and cognitive models and theories.

After you have completed this course, if you want to take your training to the next level, enrol in Anxiety Disorders Course Online: The Treatments. You will then learn how to treat anxiety disorders.


A team of 13 experienced academics and clinicians from eight institutions have contributed to the development of this online course, so you will gain exposure to various fields about anxiety disorders that these contributors are specialised in. You will not only learn the definition, the background and the symptoms of anxiety, but also understand the underlying mechanism – how anxiety is developed, what are the changes in our body systems when we have anxiety, how we get rid of anxiety, and how to use various models and theories to explain anxiety. Specifically, the topics of the course include:

  • Anxiety disorders: an overview
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • What is an anxiety disorder
  • How common are the anxiety disorders
  • The burden of anxiety disorders
  • Response of the ANS to stress
  • Panic and hyperventilation
  • Response of the HPA axis to stress
  • Genetic epidemiology of anxiety disorders
  • Identification of genetic factors contributing to anxiety disorders
  • Gene-environment interaction and human behaviour
  • Distinct developmental presentations
  • Development of anxiety disorders
  • Attachment theory
  • Fear conditioning principles
  • Extinction and fear inhibition
  • Neural circuitry of anxiety
  • Neurochemistry of anxiety
  • Cognitive models
  • Schemas
  • Specific cognitive distortions
  • Rumination and worry
  • Other important cognitive perpetuating factors.

CPD Accreditation

  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP): 40 Category 1 points

Delivery style

This course will be delivered in an interactive manner within an e-learning system at www.mhe.edu.au. Videos, quizzes and discussion forums are embedded throughout the course, so that you can learn and retain the knowledge better. With multimedia, when you are learning the course, you will not just listen, but also see key points, graphics and videos, so you can efficiently grasp the essence of the course. You don’t need to read a massive piece of text. The lecturers will use simple language to explain the complex concepts. They use case studies frequently, so you will have exposure to real life examples. In the future, when you face situations similar to the cases, you will then know how to explain what you see and hear, and know how to deal with people with anxiety disorders.

Once you have enrolled and paid for this course, you will receive an email from the e-learning system confirming your login username and password. Please check your spam/junk mails. To get started with the course, simply go to www.mhe.edu.au, log in to the system, and then click the course title – “Anxiety Disorders Course: The Foundations”. Do the pre-course test and introduce yourself to the class, and then complete each of the modules and the exercises.

Within the e-learning system, you will see the following components for this course:

  • pre-course test
  • social chat forum, where you can introduce yourself to the class
  • Q & A forum, where you can ask questions and get feedback from the tutors and other participants
  • multimedia modules with audio-visual lectures and interactive quizzes
  • polls and topic-based discussion forums
  • lecture notes download
  • lecture audios download
  • assessment task
  • Statement of Completion download.

You will have 90 days to complete the course at your own pace. It takes approximately 23 hours to complete it. Within the enrolment period, access to the e-learning system is available anytime and anywhere in the world as long as you have a reliable and high-speed internet connection.

The lecture audios were recorded in a professional studio and are of high quality. You can download them to your mobile devices and continue to listen to the course while travelling.


We acknowledge Professor Gavin Andrews, Professor Philip Boyce, Professor Richard Bryant, Dr Angela Dixon, Professor Kim Felmingham, Associate Professor Anthony Harris, Dr Michael Harris, Professor Jennifer Hudson, Dr Kasia Kozlowska, Dr Lisa Lampe, Associate Professor Loyola McLean, Professor Richie Poulton, and Associate Professor Naomi Wray for their contributions to the development of this online course.

Free educational video series

Still can’t decide if this course is right for you? Why not get a taste of it for free? We have prepared a video series Getting Started with Helping People with Anxiety Disorders. This video series is presented by Associate Professor Anthony Harris, Professor Richard Bryant, Dr Juliette Drobny and Associate Professor Rocco Crino.

Learn the functions and symptoms of anxiety, explore two popular ideas to treat anxiety, and discover the techniques used by experienced therapists through case studies and examples.


  • Convenient online access
  • Mobile learning supported
  • High quality course audios
  • Expert academic support
  • Statement of Completion

We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.