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Toronto Anxiety Psychotherapist
Anxiety, if not monitored, can become a crippling pathologic disorder. As a compassionate and experienced Anxiety Psychotherapist in Toronto I have compiled this information on anxiety which I hope will be helpful to you or someone you care about in understanding the symptoms and evolution of this disorder.
You should consider psychotherapy, with a thoughtful professional like myself, when your anxiety starts to become excessive and uncontrollable, and presents with a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms as well as changes in thinking and behaviour. There is help.
Understanding what factors play a role in your anxiety will help you gain greater control over your symptoms. Sometimes early childhood traumas contribute to adult fear responses and behaviours. Considering what makes you vulnerable to stress and exaggerates your symptomology if very helpful in conquering those causes.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If your worry and tension is chronic, fills a good portion of your day, and at times is provoked by nothing specific you could be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). You may experience much more anxiety than most people do day to day. You may find yourself always anticipating disaster or predicting negative outcomes. You may feel agitated and troubled but at times may find it difficult to pinpoint the source of your worry and distress.
You may struggle with insomnia and have difficulty shutting down your mind before bed. The following morning, simply the thought of getting through the day can provoke anxiety. I understand your suffering and have successfully worked with many individuals like yourself.
You may realize that your anxiety and response to things is more intense than the situation warrants. Your worries may be accompanied by physical symptoms, especially fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes. At times you may feel lightheaded or out of breath. You also may feel nauseated or have to go to the bathroom more frequently.
It is also very difficult to concentrate when you are anxious and you may easily become upset with yourself. Anxiety may interfere with falling or staying asleep. Individuals with GAD seem unable to relax, and they may startle more easily than other people.
Social Anxiety Disorder
If you have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by your own actions you may suffer from a social anxiety. Your fear may be so severe that it interferes with your work or school, and other ordinary activities. You may also experience blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking.
You may also focus on perceived deficits in your physical appearance and view yourself as unattractive and abnormal. You may continually review what you have said or what you should have said. You may also find that you constantly need reassurance from others. Psychotherapy can help.
Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation — such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others — or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
A panic attack is an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to fear, stress or excitement. When adrenalin floods your body, it can cause a number of different physical and emotional sensations that may affect you during a panic attack.
In response to a perceived threat stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are secreted causing the fight/flight response. When these hormones flood your body they cause muscles to tense up, you would breathe faster, the heart pumps harder, and sweating increases. You may feel nauseous and dizzy. Panic attacks come on very quickly and you may feel as though you are going to die or go mad.
It may seem that the initial attack came out of the blue. Individuals after having an attack may find themselves becoming more nervous and fearful about having another attack. A person can actually develop a fear of fear causing hyper-awareness of body sensations such as any nervousness, stomach tension, or sweating. Anticipation of a panic attack can itself cause the panic response they feared.
Toronto Psychotherapy For Anxiety
As an experienced clinician, I understand how distressing these symptoms can be and the impact they may have on your life. I sensitively work with individuals in recognizing the origin and evolution of their disorder and help them manage disturbing symptoms.
Sometimes one has inner conflicts that heighten anxiety, for some it can be an amplified fear response due to earlier conditioning and yet for others it can be a tendency to overestimate the potential for danger. Exploring and deeply understanding yourself will help you better manage fearful situations.
Stress management techniques and meditation can help people with anxiety disorders calm themselves and may enhance the effects of therapy. Current scientific research indicates that aerobic exercise may have a calming effect. Since caffeine, certain illicit drugs, and even some over-the-counter cold medications can aggravate the symptoms of anxiety disorders, they should be avoided.
Depression Resulting from Anxiety
It is not uncommon for individuals to experience depression along with anxiety. As one limits activities and places because of fear one’s self-confidence is undermined. As one’s life becomes more restrictive, and as one’s dislike for oneself increases, depression usually follows. It is important to receive treatment as soon as possible.
Dysregulation of emotions can lead to anxious and depressive schemas. Typically themes of threat and danger generate anxiety and fear of loss or failure produce depression. Biases in how one interprets incoming information, how one recalls experiences, and what one pays attention to maintains the disorder.
Toronto Psychotherapy for Panic Attacks
I understand and empathize how your panic attacks can be very frightening and very worrisome. An individual’s internal emotional conflicts and past difficulties may lead to anxiety which predisposes an individual to panic attacks. Sometimes experiencing these bodily sensations and physical reactions may be a way of avoiding painful emotions. Psychotherapy can help you to understand your present reactions in the light of past difficulties, and to overcome them. Our thoughts have a very powerful impact on our body. Uncontrolled thoughts can provoke attacks. Poor diet consisting of caffeine and sugar can also affect anxiety.
Avoiding situations that have previously provoked a panic attack is not a healthy response and only will allow your fears to dominate you. This can make someone become more withdrawn and phobic. It is important for you to learn to understand and confront your fears. You will develop tools to unlearn to feel panic.
Early Childhood Experiences and Anxiety
The way a child is raised and early belief systems created can make one more vulnerable to anxiety and panic attacks. Early separation anxiety from parents, school phobias, early traumatic experiences, and various types of abuse will affect one’s response to world. Because of past experiences an individual may learn to be overly critical and disapproving of oneself. If one struggles to trust others or themselves they may start to feel insecure and unsafe in the world.
Your physician may have prescribed high-potency benzodiazepines to relieve symptoms. Because people can develop a tolerance to them—and would have to continue increasing the dosage to get the same effect—benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for short periods of time or for isolated situations. People who have had problems with drug or alcohol abuse are not usually good candidates for these medications because they may become dependent on them.
Some people experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking benzodiazepines, although reducing the dosage gradually can diminish those symptoms. In certain instances, the symptoms of anxiety can rebound after these medications are stopped. Potential problems with benzodiazepines have led some physicians to shy away from using them.