anxiety

Anxiety Therapy & Counselling

Anxiety is an experience that includes both physical and cognitive symptoms. Anxiety can be an adaptive response to a threatening situation however for some people anxiety persists after the threat has passed or arises in non-threatening situations. Problem anxiety can interfere with a person’s daily functioning and can be disruptive to social interactions, family relationships, and work or school.

Key Facts

  • 1 in 4 people experience problem anxiety
  • Anxiety disorders can co-occur with depression or substance use disorders
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be as effective as medication at treating problem anxiety
  • There are six main Anxiety Disorders in adults and seven in children/youth: 

Factors that Influence Anxiety

Anxiety can result from genetic factors, environmental factors, or a combination of both. People who have a family history of anxiety and mental health concerns, people who have experienced trauma, and people with certain medical conditions are at greater risk for developing problem anxiety than the general population.

Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on teaching skills to manage anxiety symptoms and uses gradual exposure to stressful situations to build anxiety tolerance. CBT has been shown to be just as effective as medication in addressing problem anxiety. For individuals who have experienced trauma Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) may be a more appropriate treatment.

Medication can be used in conjunction with talk therapy to treat anxiety. Medications used to treat anxiety typically fall into three categories: antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications like buspirone, and sedatives like benzodiazepine.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

(Rachman, 2004)

Physical:

  • Light-headedness
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain / Tightness in chest
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing (rapid breath, short of breath, difficulty catching breath)
  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach: churning, nausea, diarrhea, gas, pain
  • Difficulty swallowing / lump in throat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Unsteady
  • Restless
  • Frequent urination
  • Hot flashes / Chills
  • Tremors
  • Cold and clammy palms
  • Tingling / Pins and Needles    

Mental:

  • Sense of detachment: feeling unconnected from the world around you
  • Insomnia
  • Unable to concentrate / Selective attention
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Agitated
  • Fatigued
  • Irritable
  • Fearful
  • Communication difficulties (i.e., cannot think of the words you want to use)
  • Fear that you are going crazy
  • Self-consciousness

Next Steps

If you are concerned about your own or your child's mental health Edgar Psychological can help.

Psychologists that Specialize in Anxiety

Vivian Houg has extensive experience providing treatment for anxiety in children and adolescents.

Jessica Blake, Karen Lemke, and Lauren Wiles have extensive experience providing treatment for anxiety in adults.

References

Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada. (2007). Welcome to ADAC/ACTA. Retrieved from Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada: http://www.anxietycanada.ca/english/index.php 

Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario. (2018). General Facts. Retrieved from Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario: http://www.anxietydisordersontario.ca/anxiety-resource-centre/general-facts-stats-biology-co-occurrences/ 

Jovanovic, T., Powers Lott, A., Michopoulos, V., Stevens, J., Rooij, S., Carter, S., . . . Stenson, A. (2018). What is Anxiety. Retrieved from Anxiety.org: https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-anxiety

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). (2018). Diagnosis & Treatment. Retrieved from Anxiety: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350967 

Rachman, S. (2004). Anxiety. (2nd, Ed.) New York: Psychology Press Ltd.