Mental Health Mondays | Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem in Canada. (Tweet This). Over one in 10 Canadian adults and about 2.5 million Canadians 20 years old and over have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are more common in woman (16 percent of population) than in men (9 percent of population).

An anxiety disorder differs from normal anxiety in the following ways:

  • It is more severe or intense
  • It is long-lasting
  • It interferes with the person’s ability to function
  • It occurs when a person is not in a state of danger

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The main symptom of generalized anxiety disorder is overwhelming anxiety and worry.

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Excessive worry
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mind going blank
  • Sleep disturbances.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Fast or pounding heart
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pains
  • Tremors
  • Muscle tension
  • Inability to relax
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Dry Mouth
  • Easily fatigued

Panic Attacks

A Panic attack is when four or more of the following symptoms develop abruptly and reach a peak within ten minutes.

  • Intense fear, inappropriate to the circumstances
  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed or faint
  • Fear of losing control or going “crazy”
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness, tingling sensation
  • Chills or “hot flashes”

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessions are recurrent thoughts, impulsives or images that intrude into consciousness and the person cannot get rid of them.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviours or mental acts. Mental acts can include counting silently or repeating certain words or phrases internally.

It may not be obvious that someone is engaging in compulsive behaviour from their appearance. The person feels driven to behave in this way in order to reduce anxiety about an obsession. Common compulsions include washing, checking, counting, hoarding, repeating or touching.

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