On his WordPress blog, Vancouver physician Dr. Ali Ghahary previously wrote about the impact of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are one of the top mental health concerns that Canadians are faced with today. While anxiety is something we’ve all experienced – from feeling nervous before an exam or job interview – an anxiety disorder is more severe and can oftentimes be debilitating, leaving one feeling trapped and alone.
Anxiety disorders are diagnosed when a patient exhibits symptoms of extreme distress and their ability to live a normal life becomes impaired – such as the ability to interact with others/having a social life (including family, friendships and romantic relationships), going to work or going to school.
There are 6 main types of anxiety disorders: Social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. Phobias can also be another type of anxiety disorder than individuals are faced with. While the symptoms one may experience depend on the type of anxiety disorder they have, the most common are feelings of fear, panic or uneasiness, trouble sleeping, cold or clammy hands, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, and muscle tension.
Many anxiety disorders are caused by a number of contributing factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress. Additionally, individuals with a family history od mental health disorders are also at a higher risk of developing a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, themselves.
If you are feeling any of the aforementioned symptoms, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends speaking to a physician as soon as possible. By tackling the symptoms of anxiety head on, you will be able to get appropriate treatment. It is also important to reach out to friends or family members, and have a good support system around you. Dr. Ali Ghahary may also refer patients to mental health services in their area.
For more information on mental health and anxiety, as well as for crisis resources, please visit your local Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) chapter.