What is Anxiety?
Everyone experiences symptoms of anxiety, but they are generally occasional and short-lived, and do not cause problems. But when the cognitive, physical and behavioural symptoms of anxiety are persistent and severe, and anxiety causes distress in a person’s life to the point that it negatively affects his or her ability to work or study, socialize and manage daily tasks, it may be beyond the normal range.
People with anxiety disorders may feel anxious most of the time or for brief intense episodes, which may occur for no apparent reason. They may have anxious feelings that are so uncomfortable that they avoid daily routines and activities that might cause these feelings. Some people have occasional anxiety attacks so intense that they are terrified or immobilized.
Like most mental health problems, anxiety disorders appear to be caused by a combination of biological factors, psychological factors and challenging life experiences, including:
Stressful or traumatic life event
Family history of anxiety disorders
Childhood development issues
Alcohol, medications or illicit substance
Other medical or psychiatric problems
Relaxation training, meditation, yoga, biofeedback and stress management can help with anxiety disorders along with supportive counseling and professional therapy, in combination with cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and prescribed medication.
Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at one time or another. The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.
Whether in good times or bad, most people say that stress interferes at least moderately with their lives. Chronic stress can affect your health, causing symptoms from headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep.
But you can learn how to reduce the impact of stress and manage your symptoms.
Physical activity is a proven way to reduce stress. Regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, and improve sleep and self-esteem. Other effective methods include mind-body practices of breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.
Relaxation techniques have been used to assist in the treatment of phobias, panic disorder, and depression, as well as providing relief for people in stressful situations. Find out more about complementary and alternative medicine.
Try these tips when you're feeling stressed or anxious.
This fact sheet from the National Institute of Mental Health explains the different types of stress, the effect on your health, and how to manage it.
Disclaimer: The above listed criteria is not meant to be “all encompassing” nor used as a “check-list” for a member or family member to make a “self-diagnosis” regarding their mental wellness. If feel that you are suffering please see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis to begin the process of submitting a claim to the workplace insurance board within your Province or Territory. Early diagnosis and can lead to effective results for many members so that they do not have to suffer in silence.
Adapted from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: An Information Guide © 2009 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Adapted from Mental Health Commission of Canada
Adapted from Moods Disorder Society of Canada
Adapted from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs