Do you feel restless? Constantly worried? Or find yourself overthinking about everything? According to population surveys, more than 30% of people are affected by an anxiety disorder during their lifetime, making it one of the most common mental health struggles. 

What are the different kinds of anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders can manifest in various forms, each with its unique set of symptoms and challenges. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), one of the most common forms of anxiety, involves excessive worry about everyday situations. While GAD is defined more by cognitive symptoms (thoughts), physical symptoms are the hallmark of Panic Disorder. It involves intense panic attacks, often along with avoidance of situations that might trigger those attacks. Social Anxiety Disorder can be described as an intense fear of negative evaluation by others. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), often best known because of its frequent occurrence in military personnel, can develop after exposure to traumatic events, leading to flashbacks and avoidance behaviors. While no longer officially an anxiety disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) manifests as intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, usually driven by the underlying emotion of anxiety. These common anxiety disorders underscore the diverse ways in which anxiety can affect individuals, emphasizing the importance of tailored interventions and support for those navigating these challenges.

What causes anxiety?

The causes of anxiety disorders are also diverse, often rooted in a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. This can include things like genetics, or exposure to different kinds of environmental factors, during upbringing or even as an adult. Anxiety can take a toll on many different areas of a person’s life such as job performance, school work, and personal relationships.

How do I know if I have anxiety?

The experience of anxiety is characterized by a range of symptoms. While these can vary from person to person, they usually include a combination of physical, mental, and behavioural symptoms. Physically, anxiety can cause symptoms like heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, and muscle tension. Mentally, it can cause excessive worry, fear, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. These mental effects can be very time consuming and energy draining. People might find themselves thinking about all the possible scenarios before something happens, checking things many times to make sure they have done them correctly, or may even avoid certain situations, leading them to feel left out. In fact, avoidance of situations that trigger anxiety is the most common behavioural symptom.

What can I do to cope better with anxiety? 

 Although there are many presentations of anxiety, fortunately, there are also some excellent treatment methods and strategies to manage it. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) has been found to be one of the most successful treatments for anxiety, with many published research studies demonstrating its effectiveness. It is a very flexible and adaptable type of talk therapy that works by helping people identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to their anxiety. It can also involve changing maladaptive behavioural strategies, such as avoidance. CBT can be tailored to each person’s unique needs and specific symptoms. In cases where anxiety is severe, medications can also be an effective tool, but the most lasting effects are achieved when combined with CBT.

How can we help?

At Connect Cognitive Therapy, our skilled clinicians are trained in evidence-based therapy techniques, including CBT, and are committed to a personalized approach that prioritizes collaboration, empathy, and empowerment. We recognize that every client is unique, and we tailor our treatment plans to meet your individual needs (no cookie-cutter approach!). We strive to help you maximize your overall well-being so you can overcome barriers, such as anxiety, that may be getting in the way of achieving your full potential.

We know that anxiety can be a challenging and frustrating experience, but we're here to help you navigate it with compassion and expertise. If you're ready to take the first step toward understanding and overcoming your anxiety, we invite you to reach out to us for a consultation.