Anxiety is the most common coping and mental health struggle amongst children, adolescents, and adults. There are many factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of anxiety: biology, environment, general health, coping skills, childhood experiences, traumatic events, and a host of other factors and stressors. The way in which individuals respond to these stressors, and how they interpret how others are responding to them emotionally, can create significant levels of anxiety.
Ironically, a certain level of anxiety can be helpful as it signals the brain to protect itself from harm, and can be motivational in challenging people to venture outside their comfort zones; however, if anxiety manifests in excessive or unhealthy ways, it can negatively impact daily life. Anxiety can present as nervousness, sleep disorders, panic attacks, generalized anxiety, social isolation, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. It can contribute to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as self-harm, addiction, and eating disorders. It can also contribute to emotional reactions such as tearfulness, irritability, rage, anger, and frustration.
Anxiety is very distressing to the person experiencing it and can be equally as concerning to those who love and support the struggling individual. It can also be very hard for others to understand and to empathize with, as reactions fueled by anxiety are often irrational and disproportionate to the perceived significance of the situation. Irrational thoughts and feelings, extreme levels of agitation, worry, panic, and obsessiveness are some of the most common ways anxiety presents. In children, anxiety may manifest in high levels of reassurance seeking, difficulty sleeping, heightened sensitivity to physical sensations, intense emotional reactivity, and tantrums.
All of our counsellors are highly skilled and experienced in helping individuals gain insight, and can help by coaching them on how to more effectively manage their anxiety. We acknowledge that support people and loved ones play a valuable role in the treatment of anxiety. We provide tools to both the individual and their support people to re-direct unhealthy coping strategies. With constructive, healthy, long term solutions individuals are able to better reduce and manage their anxieties.