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Anxiety

Anxiety can show up in your life in many different ways, and it’s not always easy to know exactly what it is/looks like.
As someone who lives with anxiety myself, I know just how hard it can be to manage and recognize anxiety. Here are some of the types of anxiety that I can support you with. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

If you find yourself feeling worried or anxious a lot, even when there aren’t specific things that are making you feel that way, you could be experiencing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It can feel like an ongoing sense of unease - like you constantly have your guard up and don’t know why.
You might also be struggling to manage these worries - it can feel like having a constant stream of negative or fearful thoughts cycling through your head (I like calling this the anxiety spiral - because it feels neverending). These worries will usually encompass different areas of your life like work, relationships, health and your future.
I
t can be both emotionally and physically distressing. You might notice your heart racing, your muscles tensing up, or shortness of breath, including other physical signs. It can really get in the way of living life fully. GAD symptoms can make it hard to sleep and hard to eat, and you might find yourself avoiding or missing out on things you’d like to do. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a form of anxiety that has two main components:

1. You constantly experience negative, unwanted thoughts (also known as ‘obsessions’)

2. These thoughts drive you to do certain things repeatedly (known as ‘compulsions’).

Obsessions can be specific words, phrases, mental imagery or thoughts, and compulsions can look like different things, like checking that you turned the stove off multiple times before leaving the house or having to do a specific action a specific number of times. Even when there isn’t a specific reason for the thoughts or actions, it can be hard to stop yourself, and it can often feel almost comforting or reassuring when you perform the compulsion. 

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Panic Attacks (Panic Disorder)

If you’ve ever had a sudden, overwhelming episode of extreme anxiety without a specific trigger, you may have had a panic attack.

Panic attacks can be extremely distressing in the moment as well as after the fact, and they can be a source of a lot of confusion and stress. They include both physical signs like a heart racing, breathing difficulties, sweating and chest pains and emotional signs like fear, dread and anticipation of danger or a threat. 

There can also be a feeling of losing control or feeling detached from the world and your body. Panic attacks are also under the anxiety umbrella, and thankfully, like the others, there are ways of managing the symptoms before, during and after. 

Social Anxiety

You might be experiencing social anxiety if you find yourself feeling extremely nervous, self-conscious or stressed out in social settings. You might notice yourself replaying conversations you’ve had, analyzing or pointing out things you wish you’d said differently or worrying that others were judging you.

Social anxiety can also be physical, emotional and behavioural. You might find yourself sweating, heart racing or stuttering in conversations, or avoiding different settings or events out of nervousness or fear of social interactions.
 

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Other Types of Anxiety

There are many other forms that anxiety can take in your life,  including but not limited to different phobias like agoraphobia (fear of crowded places or of being in situations/spaces where you would feel trapped);

Health anxiety, financial anxiety, existential anxiety or situational anxiety in response to many different things like job interviews, travel or medical appointments.

Treatment for Anxiety

While anxiety can be extremely distressing and have a negative impact on your life, the good news is that it is highly treatable. Interventions that are helpful for treating anxiety can include lifestyle changes, medication prescribed by a doctor or therapy.

There are lots of evidence-based therapeutic approaches that can improve anxiety symptoms, including
 

How Therapy Can Help Improve Anxiety

In therapy, we’ll work together on understanding the root causes of your anxiety and the external impacts of anxiety on your life. This will help us shift the unhelpful beliefs and negative thoughts and behaviours that keep the anxiety going. We’ll also work on learning practical skills and strategies for managing the anxiety in the here and now so that you can feel better, feel more like yourself and get back to focusing on the things that really matter to you most. 
 

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