Children, Adolescents & Adults
What are Anxiety Disorders?
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Some people even thrive on anxiety and fear that if they let go of it they won’t be as productive or successful. A certain amount of anxiety can motivate us to perform better and plan. Anxiety about something indicates that something matters to us. It motivates us to be on our best behaviour and to be prepared for a speech, a project, a competition for instance. it motivates people to perform at optimal levels. Anxiety is no longer helpful when it holds us back from enjoying life. If it keeps us up at night, requires that we overplan and can tolerate change, if everyone needs to accommodate their lives around us, if it gives us physical pains and impacts our health and wellbeing.
What differentiates an Anxiety Disorder from “normal” levels of anxiety?
Challenges are part of being human. When worrying does not interfere with our daily functioning it is not a disorder. People who suffer from anxiety worry on a daily basis and their whole life is designed to control the discomfort of anxiety. People with anxiety tend to want to control everything in their lives and environment, some people can even label them as control freaks. They tend to be perfectionists and despise unpredictability. They do not like last minutes changes and have a hard time delegating.
When a member of a family has anxiety, the whole family tends to accommodate the anxious person. Their whole life is based on avoiding anything that can provoke fear or discomfort and they require constant reassurance. The fear and worry are quite intense and are a daily occurrence when a person has anxiety. It is not uncommon for an anxious person to be aware that their fear is excessive but they say they can’t control it. At extreme levels, anxiety can become debilitating and even ruin relationships. The person no longer participates in activities that enrich their lives. Some people will event suffer from panic attacks and their onset can be quite quick.
What are some types of Anxiety Disorders that I treat?
Social Anxiety is different from shyness. When someone shyness causes them emotional suffering and negatively impacts their ability to function in various spheres such as school, work or socially. People who suffer from social anxiety are overly concerned with others’ opinion of them and they especially fear being judged negatively. They worry they will be the centre of attention and of making a fool of themselves, be ashamed or embarrassed. They fear social interactions such as conversations, meeting new people, being observed while eating, drinking, writing or in performance situations such as giving a presentation, speech, acting or signing, even playing sports. People with social anxiety are preoccupied that others will notice how anxious they are, and will judge them negatively for being anxious.
Specific Phobia is an intense anxiety or fear about a specific situation or object (e.g., fear of animals, heights, flying, blood, or needles). The fear cannot be explained by the presence of an actual danger. Usually a phobia involves the avoidance of the feared object or situation and this can be debilitating or cause severe emotional distress or impairment in functioning (e.g., fear of driving, fear of elevators, fear of flying).
Generalized Anxiety is when someone’s life is overcome by anxiety. It is not limited to one situation, it has become a way of life. Worry is excessive and about multiple things (health, the future, safety, etc). The sufferers have difficulty controlling their worrying, they have a number of physical symptoms such as feeling restless, on edge, trouble concentrating or having the mind go blank, muscle tension, irritability, easily fatigued, and sleep-related difficulties.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders can help you to…
- What triggers and what maintains your anxiety
- Differentiate between real and imagined or potential stressors
- Understand the thoughts that feed the anxiety and reframe your mindset so that not everything is perceived as a threat to your emotional or physical safety.
- Reduce anxiety-related avoidance, freeing you up to pursue meaningful relationships and activities that you may have been avoiding due to anxiety.
- Learn coping skills such as accepting uncertainty, letting go of worries, do the things you used to enjoy, reduce worry and improve sleep.
- Manage the physiological symptoms of anxiety.
- Overcome debilitating fears.
- Learn relaxation techniques and improve sleep.
- Find joy again in your day-to-day and stop sweating the small stuff.
Why it’s essential to get started now:
Life is short. Before you know it, so much time has been lost and wasted. Life is too precious to spend another day worrying needlessly. Anxiety and worry affect your health, your relationships, your job, and life satisfaction. By taking the time to understand your triggers and learn how to cope with anxiety, you will reclaim your life. You will reconnect with what matters most to you, sleep better, feel more relaxed, improve in all areas of your life.
Why wait one more day? Take charge of your anxiety instead of letting anxiety take charge of you. Don’t let anxiety rob you of the life you deserve. Change is possible! I can help.
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Nepean, Ontario K2G 6B1
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