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What is Anxiety? 


Anxiety is a stress reaction that causes feelings of fear, dread or uneasiness. It may cause you to feel restless, tense and have a rapid heartbeat making you sweat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. But, what are anxiety disorders? 


An anxiety disorder is different from normal feelings of anxiousness or nervousness. It involves the experience of excess fear or anxiousness that does not go away and can get worse over time. These symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships. The good news is that you are not alone. Anxiety disorders affect approximately 30% of adults at some point in their lives. 


People with anxiety disorders often have excess, intense and persistent fear and/or worry about everyday situations. The cause of anxiety is unknown. Factors such as genetics, brain biology, stress and your environment may play a role. Frequently, people with anxiety may also experience panic attacks, which are repeated events of sudden feelings of extreme fear, terror or anxiety that peak within minutes and are out of proportion to the “danger” or situation presented. Not only are they hard to control, panic attacks can interfere with day-to-day activities and may last for a prolonged period.

What are the types of Anxiety Disorders? 


There are several types of anxiety disorders, and the risk factors can vary. 


  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

  • Panic Disorder 

  • Separation anxiety disorder 

  • Social anxiety disorder

  • Phobias 

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 


What are the symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?


Symptoms can vary depending on what type of anxiety disorder you’re struggling with. General symptoms and signs of anxiety disorder include, but are not limited to, the following: 


Behavioral Symptoms: 

  • Inability to be calm or remain still 

  • Ritualistic behaviors like repeatedly washing hands or touching objects multiple times

  • Avoidance of people, places or things

  • Trouble sleeping 


Mental Symptoms: 

  • Worry

  • Feeling fear, panic and uneasiness

  • Obsessive or uncontrollable thoughts

  • Nightmares

  • Repeated flashbacks or thought of traumatic experiences


Physical Symptoms: 

  • Sweaty or cold hands

  • Shortness of breath

  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

  • Muscle tension

  • Dry mouth

  • Tightening of the chest

  • Difficulty breathing



How are anxiety disorders diagnosed?


To diagnose anxiety disorders, clients will undergo a comprehensive assessment with our highly trained clinicians. You will typically meet with one of our therapists every 7-10 days to explore issues and plan a treatment approach / plan. Your clinician will work with you to individualize a treatment plan to effectively respond to your needs.


What are the treatments for Anxiety Disorder? 


There are two main approaches to treat anxiety disorder; Psychotherapy (talk-therapy), medicines, or both: 


Psychotherapy is a form of counseling that will help you cope with the emotional response you have to your condition. Your clinician will explain strategies designed to help you better manage and understand your disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy and / or exposure therapy are the most common therapeutic methods. 



Are there any lifestyle changes or things I can do

to help with Anxiety Disorder? 


Most individuals with anxiety disorder require psychotherapy and/or medication to get their anxiety under control, however there are certain lifestyle changes that could make a difference. For example: 


  • Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol

  • Increase your physical activity

  • Quit or cut back on drinking caffeinated drinks

  • Make sleep a top priority 

  • Quit smoking 

  • Eat a clean and healthy diet

  • Add relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation to your daily routine

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