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Anxiety Therapy in Toronto

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something. It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time. In fact, these feelings can even be quite helpful, by warning us of danger, or motivating us to take action. An anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is when feelings of worry and nervousness become extreme, and overwhelm you. Persistent anxiety has serious impacts on your life, affecting how you think, feel and act in everyday situations.

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How to Recognize Symptoms of Anxiety?

Everyone worries to a degree, for example before taking a test or when going to a job interview. And a heightened sense of anticipation, awareness or alertness can even help us perform better in stressful situations. But sometimes anxiety sticks around a lot longer that you’d like it to or manifests in situations where you would expect to feel at ease. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can include:

  • Persistent worrying or anxiety about a situation that is out of proportion to the impact of the event
  • Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes
  • Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty
  • Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
  • Inability to let go of a worry
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless and feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating or the feeling that your mind goes blank

And physical symptoms may include: fatigue, trouble sleeping, muscle tension and/ore aches; trembling or feeling twitchy, being easily startled, sweating, irritability and nausea, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, anxiety sometimes goes unidentified as a source of other disorders, such as substance abuse or physical addiction, that can result from attempts to quell feelings of anxiety

How Does Anxiety Affect Your Life?

Anxiety disorders can be very disabling, taking a toll on your mental and physical heath. Research has also implicated anxiety in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders and gastrointestinal conditions. 

At home, school, work and in social situations, persistent anxiety can impair your ability to perform tasks quickly and efficiently, sap your energy and increase your risk of other mental illnesses like depression. Once anxiety starts to interfere with things that are important to you, such as school or work, seeing friends, extra-curricular activities, socializing and intimate relationships, it’s time to seek help.

Anxiety Treatment

Research shows that the most effective treatment is the combination of an anxiety medication and talk therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Psychotherapy for anxiety usually consists of eight to 12 sessions. However, treatment will be different for each person, depending on the type of anxiety disorder, and the presence of any underlying conditions. The need for medication should be assessed by your family doctor or a psychiatrist, but depending on the level of anxiety, medication is not always necessary. However, if your anxiety is very high, medication helps lower the anxiety, allowing you to talk about the challenges, and the difficult thoughts related to anxiety, without raising the anxiety even more.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks refer to the sudden onset of anxiety, escalating into severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing and chest pain. The focus in therapy is to identify panic triggers, and then learn methods to calm the nervous system, and to increase one’s tolerance to stressors. This, in turn, can decrease the frequency and intensity of panic attack episodes.

It’s important to remember that symptoms are not purposeful in nature. And like any other illness, some symptoms are hard to manage. Sometimes we’ll find it more effective to focus on the physical cause, and prefer a medical explanation versus working on the anxiety components.

Hope—Yes, You CAN Overcome Anxiety!

Anxiety is very treatable. With combination of psychological therapy, medication and lifestyle adjustments, people who suffer form an anxiety disorder learn to reduce, manage and even eliminate symptoms. They are then able to enjoy work, school and social activities.

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I want you to get excited about who you are, what you are, what you have, and what can still be for you. I want to inspire you to see that you can go far beyond where you are right now.

– Virginia Satir

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