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Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Fear is a normal human response to a threatening situation. When faced with a physical threat, we go into fight or flight mode -- our heart pumps rapidly and strongly, our blood goes to our muscles and vital organs, we may feel light headed, tingly in fingers and toes and we may notice a light sweat. These evolutionary survival mechanisms appear in the face of other threats too, such as standing up in front of a room full of people. Sometimes this gives us a positive “edge”. Sometimes it creates anxiety that needs managing.

People with GAD will experience these body changes in the absence of threat and experience persistent worry and anxiety even when there is no reasonable cause. They worry about just about everything, may experience a “chain of worries” where one imagined consequence leads to another, and the worry can take on huge incapacitating proportions. These worries can lead to avoidance of certain situations, places or experiences and this can create cascading problems for the worrier.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is often the treatment of choice for Anxiety since it is widely believed that that thinking patterns and behaviour play an important role in Anxiety and Panic Disorder. CBT will help you examine your ways of thinking, feeling and behaving in order to enact change. Andrea will also wish to simply talk with you about your thoughts and feelings, and perhaps events in your past that may have contributed to the formation of this disorder.


Panic Attacks / Panic Disorder

Have you experienced a panic attack? Clients report being rushed to the hospital, thinking that they are having a heart attack or seizure. The physical symptoms of a panic attack are real and feel life threatening, most report a sense of doom and are surprised when told that they have had a panic attack. Panic attacks do not kill, but often they feel like they will. The person is left living in fear of another attack. The result is a life of hyper-vigilance and worry.

Some Symptoms of a Panic Attack

• Pounding or racing heart
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain or discomfort
• Nausea, or diarrhoea
• Choking feeling
• Perspiration, dizziness, light headedness.
• Tingling, numbing in different parts of body
• Feeling detached from world or from body
• Thoughts of going crazy
• Flushing or chills
• Sense of doom

Many of these symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack and so if you have had these symptoms it is best to seek the advice of a physician. People with Panic Disorder find that the attacks can result from a trigger, or for no apparent reason. They report intense frustration and some with Panic Disorder may become depressed. In severe cases they attempt to change behaviour and avoid certain environments where they might be embarrassed by an attack and the disorder can develop further into Agoraphobia (fear of open places). Early intervention will help avoid that outcome.

CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – is generally the treatment of choice for Panic Disorder since it is widely believed that that thinking patterns and behaviour play an important role in Panic Disorder. CBT will help you examine your ways of thinking, feeling and behaving in order to enact change. The counsellor will also wish to simply talk with you about your thoughts and feelings, and perhaps events in your past that may have contributed to the formation of this disorder.

Please Note:

This information is for your interest only and should not be considered a diagnostic tool. If you feel you may have depression you may wish to consult with your physician. If you are experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts please go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency room.

 

If you need to talk...

If you need to talk, Andrea will listen and support you. Please call or book an appointment.

 

Andrea Beck & Associates is a registered member of:

Andrea Beck, Hon BA (Spec. Psych), MSW  RSW Ontario Ciollege of Social Workers & Social Service Workers Ontario Association of Social Workers International Society for Mental Health Online