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It is not uncommon for people to experience anxiety – a feeling of worry, apprehension or fear toward a situation or experience – at some point in their lives. However, for some individuals, anxiety can be a crippling problem that can affect their lives considerably, causing significant disruptions to their daily functioning.  It is estimated that 12% of the adult population in Canada experiences anxiety.  Anxiety may present itself in various ways, but the most common forms include:


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be diagnosed when an individual has a chronic feeling of worry over things situations and experiences that occur on a daily basis, such as concern for health, school work or daily routines.  This worry occurs frequently, and individuals who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder are often unable to control their feelings of worry.

Resources for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario:

Psychology Works Factsheet (CPA):



  • Individuals who experience phobias have an avoidance or fear of certain objects or situations that would not typically be considered dangerous (i.e. fear of heights, fear of crowds, fear of social situations).  When a person is exposed to these things, they experience an intense sense of fear, increased anxiety, and or they may avoid the situation or object.

Resources for Phobias

Canadian Mental Health Association:

Canadian Psychological Association:


Panic Disorder

  • Panic disorder may be diagnosed when a person experiences unexpected and inexplicable panic attacks.  Common symptoms of a panic attack include difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, feeling of nausea, chest pains, feelings of choking of smothering, dizziness, sweating, as well as intense fear, worry, and feelings that something bad will occur imminently.  For individuals with panic disorder, attacks occur frequently (one or more times per week).

Resources for Panic Disorder

Canadian Mental Health Association:

Canadian Psychological Association:


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • When a person is continuously uncontrolled by thoughts which cause them to repeat certain acts or behaviours, such as frequently cleaning, organizing or counting, this may indicate Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These behaviours can greatly interfere with a person’s daily life.

Resources for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD Ontario:

Canadian Mental Health Association:

Canadian Psychological Association:


Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety may be treated by medication, psychotherapy or a combination of these two approaches. If you think you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, speaking to your family doctor is a good place to start.  The most common psychotherapy treatment for Anxiety Disorders is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, which may include relaxation training, systematic desensitization or exposure therapy.


Additional Resources for Anxiety

Canadian Mental Health Association:

Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada:

Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario: