Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety

What you need to know about anxiety

Some worry or nervousness is normal and can be beneficial. However, anxiety becomes a problem when it disrupts our lives, affecting our behaviours, thoughts, emotions and physical health. It is often said that anxiety is negative thinking that’s focused on the future.

Anxiety is a feeling of intense discomfort, which drives people to avoid triggers. Every time we avoid an anxiety-producing situation, the anxiety will be even worse the next time around. The brain starts to learn the response: “When I avoid this trigger, I feel better.” It thinks “I guess I should try to avoid it next time too.”

Anxiety predisposes us to catastrophic thinking. The anxious mind tends to obsess about the past and dwell on regrets.

People with anxiety often present with somatic symptoms, depression, chronic pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and/or chronic fatigue.

Risk Factors

  • Family history of anxiety
  • Time of life (higher incidence in adolescents/youth and the elderly)
  • Stressful periods (life events)
  • Postpartum period
  • Chronic physical illness including chronic pain conditions
  • Substance use disorders
  • Parental behavior (e.g. a tendency to be overprotective, less affectionate, and more controlling) appears to be associated with the development of anxiety disorders)

Do I have anxiety?

  • Are you a worrier by nature?
  • Do people who know you see you as a worrier?
  • Are your worries so hard to control that they take over your life?
  • Do you find yourself worrying a lot about bad things that might happen in your future?
  • Do you worry a lot about day to day activities or getting things done?