The prevalence of anxiety has increased in recent times and is impacting the lives of Canadians on a regular basis. Typical anxiety symptoms will range from inability to get proper rest or stay asleep, problems focusing at work, worrying about the outcomes of taking actions and feeling paralysed to make decisions. In addition, there are physical symptoms such as elevated blood pressure, heart rate along with sweating and flushing of the skin.
It is ordinary for most people to feel anxiousness, often due to anticipating a stressful or exciting event - positive or negative. For some it might be a job interview, for others it might be public speaking. The anxious states may be referred to commonly as experiencing anxiety, but in fact, they are distinctly different than those who are undergoing an Anxiety Disorder.
The Types of Anxiety Disorders
A panic attack can be characterized by an immediate onset of an overwhelming sense of impending doom, imminent disaster, or significant even - even when no such danger exists or is likely to exist. This acute fear is triggered by a perception of loss of control and can result in intense physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, loss of breathe, dizziness, and other symptoms. Repeated panic attacks can be a sign of having a Panic Disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
It is common to worry or stress over a variety of life experiences - big or small. Common worrying can be dependent on how much rest we have undergone, along with immediate and long-term stresses. However, those with what is referred to as having a Generalized Anxiety Disorder worry constantly about a multitude of things. The onset is typically slow, and often first noticed in teenage years. Unfortunately, it is not usually dealt with until it has significantly impacted a person’s life. Those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are typically exhausted from being in a constant state of worry. Their quality of life can be impacted significantly including relationships and work.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Also referred to as Social Phobia, Social Anxiety Disorder can be described as having an irrational fear or being overly self-conscious of public social situations. This can display itself as having a fear of conversation, performing ordinary tasks in public, or using public spaces where interactions may occur. As a result, those with such anxiety disorders may completely avoid or drastically limit situations or travelling to environments where public interaction may occur. This can result in isolation and difficulty conducting oneself in work and relationships situations.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder / OCD
Having an obsession can be characterized as having intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that can cause distress or anxiety to the individual. A compulsion is a behavior in which a person feels compelled to perform and that they feel will ease their anxiety, distress or suppress unwanted thoughts. Compulsive behaviours can be displayed in either visible physical actions or they are sometimes strictly mental processes. Some common obsessions concern themselves with cleanliness or the need for symmetry or order. Some common compulsions involve washing,cleaning, and arranging items. People undergoing OCD may experience a variety of obsessions and compulsions.
Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
It is important if one is experiencing anxiety that it be properly assessed and other factors ruled out. Anxiety Disorders can be successfully treated and relief of symptoms can occur swiftly, with full recovery requiring a longer effort.
While there are medications available, we will look at effective means of counselling and cognitive therapies.
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