Do You experience frequent Panic Attacks and Can’t figure out why?

Do you avoid social situations for fear of being judged, criticized, or rejected?

Do you have racing thoughts? persistent worry? Difficulty relaxing?

Anxiety in Moderate Doses Can Be Healthy

Anxiety is a normal feeling that all people have on occasion. When we experience anxiety in moderate doses, it can help us stay focused, inspire us to solve problems and motivate us to take action. There are times however when anxiety is out of proportion to the situation that triggered it, becomes chronic or pervasive and starts to impair daily functioning. This may signal the onset of an anxiety disorder and the need to seek early intervention.  Counselling and therapy can be an important start in dealing with your anxiety.  

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotional or physical state we experience in response to everyday stress. It is a state of nervousness, internal disquiet and apprehension that comes from anticipating a future uncertainty. Unlike fear which is our body’s hard -wired response to an immediate threat, with anxiety the threat is often vague and ill-defined.  Anxiety can persist even after a threat has passed or a stressful situation mediated

What is An Anxiety Disorder?

It is important to distinguish between anxiety which a normal albeit unpleasant response to stress and an anxiety disorder. When anxiety becomes intense, prolonged or disruptive it has likely moved into the more serious territory of an anxiety disorder. The term anxiety disorder refers to a constellation of distinct mental health diagnoses that share common features of excessive fear, apprehension and impaired functioning.

The following are anxiety disorders for which clients often seek professional counselling and therapy:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): A persistent state of nervousness and exaggerated worry often with no specific cause. Worries often related to themes of health, relationships, finances and death.  

Panic Disorder:  The sudden and intense upsurge of anxiety that stops us in our tracks is called panic.  A panic attack can feel terrifying especially when it happens for the very first time.  It is not uncommon to land up in the ER - emergency after a first episode,  Often mistaken for a heart attack, the fear of having another panic episode acts as a trigger for further panic.

Agoraphobia: An irrational fear of being in public spaces especially places from which escape is difficult. Many people become agoraphobic after their first panic attack. They are overly cautious about being in places that leave them vulnerable and at risk of experiencing another panic attack.  

Social Anxiety: Also known as social phobia is an intense and persistent fear of being observed, scrutinized and negatively judged by others. People with social anxiety often experience social situations as distressing and use avoidance and withdrawal to manage their discomfort.

Separation Anxiety Disorder: Excessive fear and anxiety experienced in response to being separated from home or an attachment figure such as a parent or close relative.  Separation anxiety not affects children and adolescents it also affect adults.  

Phobias: An extreme, all-encompassing fear of an object, activity or situation that is often not harmful. Common phobias include fears of heights, bridges, enclosed spaces, snakes and flying. 

Other Anxiety Disorders

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A intense constellation of emotional symptoms that can develop when a major traumatic event like a sexual assault, terror attack, or serious accident is directly experienced or witnessed.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Unwanted, persistent and anxiety-producing thoughts or obsessions that drive the performance of repetitive behaviours  (e.g. hand washing, checking).  These rituals or compulsions help to manage the anxiety generated by the obsessions.  

Counselling And Psychotherapy Can help you take the first steps toward gaining freedom from anxiety.

Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety 

The signs and symptoms of anxiety look and feel different for each person but commonly include things like:

  • Looping, obsessive our racing thoughts

  • Persistent and uncontrollable worry

  • Difficulty relaxing, feeling restless and 'on edge'

  • Self-doubt, self-consciousness

  • Trouble concentrating, easily distracted

  • Irritability, low frustration tolerance

  • Sleep difficulties,

  • Muscle tension, trembling, sweating

  • Rapid heartbeat, palpitations, breathing difficulties

  • Panic attacks

  • Stomach upset or butterflies

  • Avoidance, perfectionism, procrastination

What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety can be triggered by a number of things and is not a sign of weakness, inadequacy or moral failing.  The causes anxiety differ for each person.  Some factors that may increase the risk include things like:

  • Stressful life conditions (job loss, abandonment, a health diagnosis etc)

  • Genetics, family history

  • Biology

  • Traumatic events (eg. Motor vehicle accident, assault, domestic violence)

  • Brain chemistry

  • Medication and medical conditions (e.g. lupus, hypertension, pre-menstrual syndrome)

  • Early life experiences (e.g abuse, neglect, )

  • Lifestyle (e.g. sleep deprivation, drugs)

Everyone experiences anxiety, it is not a choice! 

How Can Counselling and Therapy for Anxiety Help?

At Counselling Associates, we target the symptoms while also looking for the possible causes of your anxiety.  Using a combination of some of the most effective therapies for anxiety, we will work together with you to:

  • Develop effective skills, tools and techniques for managing anxiety, worry and panic

  • Uncover and process the emotions (such as fear, and anger) that underpin anxiety

  • Unpack and compassionately explore thinking patterns and beliefs that drive anxiety

  • Learn to creatively apply mindfulness & relaxation techniques to manage, soothe and reverse anxiety & panic

  • Experiment with healthier, confidence boosting behaviors rather than avoidance to manage your anxiety

  • Build confidence, take risks, push through fear

Feeling overwhelmed by Anxiety?  You Are Not Alone!  

Whether your anxiety takes the form of social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic attacks or phobias it is hard not to feel isolated and alone.  Anxiety, along with its sidekick depression, is one the most widely reported mental health issues impacting Canadians today.   While more Canadians than ever before are speaking with their doctors their anxiety, the vast majority do not get evidenced based counselling that can help then make lasting change.   

The confidential, comfortable and collaborative environment at Counselling Associates, provides a safe place from which to take those important first steps living a life free from anxiety.  Don't delay!

Nothing Diminishes Anxiety, Faster Than Action
— Unknown