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Anxiety is a part of everyday life.  It can be a natural emotional experience.  An anxiety disorder is different from a normal response to environmental stressors.  With anxiety disorders the anxiety is more intense, it lasts longer, and it may be specific to people, places, or situations.  Some people experience anxiety to specific situations whereas others may always feel somewhat anxious. When anxiety is untreated, it can take over our lives.  We may become consumed with fears and preoccupations that can significantly restrict our lives.  Anxiety contributes to the inability to enjoy life in the here and now.

Symptoms of Anxiety include:

  • Repetitive and racing thoughts about future events
  • Constant worry, fear, unease or nervousness
  • Rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, “butterflies” in stomach or nausea
  • Sleep disturbance due to a racing mind
  • Attention difficulties
  • Avoidant behaviours

If people try to ignore physical signs to slow down and take better self-care the result is an escalation in symptoms.  The escalation of emotional and physical symptoms are termed a panic attack.

Symptoms of Panic Attacks include:

  • Anxiety
  • muscle tension
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling dizzy
  • shaking or trembling
  • numbness or tingling
  • feelings of unreality
  • feeling detached from yourself
  • fear of losing control or going crazy
  • chills or hot flashes
  • feeling of impending doom or fear of dying

The goals to managing anxiety is to figure out what triggers your anxious response to certain situations, identify your concerns, and pay attention to the thoughts in your mind.  The emotion that is attached to the thought will influence your behavior and possibly contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder or panic attack.  The help of a therapist can assist in learning skills useful for managing and eliminating anxiety disorder symptoms.