Anxiety Disorders – Symptoms and Treatments

Anxiety is a class of mental health disorders that can have a significant impact on your ability to live an engaged and meaningful life.  When your anxiety symptoms impact how you participate in your daily activities, finding anxiety disorder treatments that are appropriate to your needs can help you improve your quality of life and get back to the activities and relationships that mean the most to you.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to situations or scenarios that are perceived as threatening.  When working properly, anxiety increases to give you the energy and resources to deal with the problem, then decreases back to baseline once the problem or threat is resolved.  This is a healthy and necessary function!  If we never had the push to work harder, run faster, think more, or use more energy, we wouldn’t be able to achieve goals or stay safe!  

Anxiety becomes a problem, however, when the anxiety doesn’t resolve once the situation is managed.  Sometimes anxiety can become a constant baseline feeling that interferes with your ability to participate in your life.  

There are several different kinds of anxiety presentations such as panic disorders, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias.  Although each diagnostic group has its own unique symptom grouping, many anxieties present with physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, dizziness, shortness of breath, physical tension, excessive sweating, headache, nausea, fatigue, and even insomnia.  Mentally, people often describe feelings of restlessness, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, thinking and remembering, worrying, impatience and irritability, and more.

Treatments for Anxiety

Renew Neurotherapy is a North Bay, Pembroke and Ottawa trauma and anxiety clinic.  Our therapists are skilled in providing support for a variety of mental health disorders, including anxiety counselling (Ottawa, Pembroke, North Bay and online) and trauma therapy (Ottawa, Pembroke, North Bay and online).

Some of our anxiety counselling (Ottawa, Pembroke, North Bay and online) approaches include:

Psychotherapy and Counselling

Psychotherapy and counselling are types of talk therapy that can help you to deal with issues that are blocking or limiting your ability to live a life that you enjoy and has meaning.  They approach recovery in similar ways, but counselling tends to be more short-term and wellness-focussed, while psychotherapy tends to be longer-term and focuses on gaining insight and exploring thought processes in depth.  Most therapists will use components of both approaches, depending on what is the best fit for you and your needs.  

There are many kinds of therapy approaches.  Some of the approaches we use at the Renew Neurotherapy North Bay, Pembroke and Ottawa trauma and anxiety clinics include emotion-focussed, solution-focussed, cognitive behavioural, dialectical behavioural, acceptance and commitment, EMDR, mindfulness-based, compassion-focussed, and psychodynamic therapies and approaches. 

The same approach won’t work for everyone.  It’s important to be open and honest with your therapist so that both of you can be sure that the work you are doing together is helping you move forward in your recovery. 

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback therapy is a kind of brain-based biofeedback that can help to modify brain activity patterns associated with your symptoms.  Neuroscience research has taught us that certain parts of the brain and patterns of brain function are linked to specific behaviours.  At Renew, we begin by measuring your brain activity by doing a Quantitative Electroencephalograph (QEEG), or brain map.  Based on that information coupled with years of neuroscience research, we are able to identify key metrics that are associated with your symptoms.  We then use learning-based neurofeedback training to help your brain learn new patterns of functioning.  We know that learning and new behaviours change the neurological connections in your brain, so your brain changes “shape” with the training.  The old anxiety pathways are diverted to new pathways, giving you (and your brain) new options for how to feel and behave. 

At Renew, all of our team members are trained in accordance with the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance requirements and are either board certified in neurofeedback, or are studying for certification.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on mental health symptoms.  Research has proven that aligning your daily activities with your core values, daily exercise, good nutrition, healthy work-life balance, spending positive time with friends and loved ones, enjoying relaxation time, decreasing screen time, prioritizing and optimizing sleep, spending time in nature, trying new things, and doing activities that are meaningful to you can all be extremely effective in helping you manage symptoms.  

Renew therapists can support you in identifying and prioritizing your core values, then restructuring your daily routine, setting boundaries, establishing realistic goals and identifying priorities as you shift to a healthier and more balanced life.

Supporting Return to Work/School Programs

Anxiety symptoms can often result in withdrawal or the inability to continue to participate in daily activities like work or school.  Once you start to move your recovery forward, you may begin to feel ready to resume some of these activities.  A therapist can help you navigate this process by helping you identify appropriate limits, understand what will increase your symptoms, help you communicate with your employer, teachers, or insurers, help to create a gradual return plan, and help break down the tasks you need to do each day so you can better plan and prioritize your activities. 

Conclusion

Anxiety can feel like it is running your life; impacting your relationships, your quality of life, even your ability to go to school or make a living, but there are many options to support recovery!

Renew Neurotherapy is a North Bay, Pembroke and Ottawa trauma and anxiety clinic with experienced and well-trained therapists who can help you live a life that you love.  

Please reach out and let us know how can we help!

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