What is Anxiety

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry.

Local Psychologist

Kirtley Thornton

Kirtley Thornton

Charlotte, NC
Dr. Kate Hays

Dr. Kate Hays

Ph.D., C.Psych, Clinical Sports Psychologist
Toronto, ON
Ms. Lynda Mainwaring

Ms. Lynda Mainwaring

Associate Professor at the University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

Dr. Shimi Kang, BSc., MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, discusses Dealing with Anxiety, Phobias or Chronic Worrying in Your Life

Quiz: Do You Understand Anxiety & Panic Attacks?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Many people with anxiety disorder have panic attacks.

Anxiety disorder causes people to intermittently feel nervous, have a sense of impending doom or danger, sweat, hyperventilate or experience an elevated heart rate. Many people with anxiety disorder have panic attacks.

Physical activity won't reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Studies show that exercise may help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Exercise releases powerful chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, which improve mood and feelings of well-being. It can lower cortisol (also called the “stress hormone”) levels and support nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that helps regulate mood.

Foods rich in zinc have been linked to lowered anxiety.

Studies show that foods rich in zinc can reduce anxiety. Zinc is found in foods such as beef, poultry (dark meat), whole grains and nuts.

Panic attacks generally last about 25 minutes.

Panic attacks usually last less than 10 minutes. However, some of the symptoms may persist for longer.

There is no genetic component to anxiety.

Genetics play a role in anxiety. If someone in your family has an anxiety disorder, it's more likely that you will as well.
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Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych MBA (UK), discusses What is Anxiety Disorder?

Treatment of Anxiety & Panic Disorders

Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder could be treated with psychological treatments or pharmacological treatments.

Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder are very much treatable. There are pharmacological strategies, also psychological strategies. Both types of methods are very effective in improving symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder as well as panic disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most commonly used psychological strategy to treat anxiety disorder and panic disorder. In terms of pharmacological strategies, we tend to use antidepressants, and those work very well, too.

If you have more questions about treatment of these conditions, please make sure to speak with your family physician or a psychiatrist.

Presenter: Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, Psychiatrist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Psychiatrist

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety is a common mental health problem in which individuals may feel overcome by worry that disrupts their activities, or feel a constant sense of tension, or even at a more extreme point have episodes of panic and extreme fear.

The options are either anxiolytic – anti-anxiety medications – which are commonly given by family physicians or psychiatrists. These are generally useful for the short term, the problem in the longer term is that people can become physiologically- or physically-dependent forming and they can also cause people to feel sedated, so they’re really a short-term solution.

Over the longer term, people want to learn anxiety management skills, which are generally taught through a psychologist using a cognitive-behavioral approach and enabling them to learn the skills of anxiety control.

The medication treatments are generally available through family physicians, but the anxiety management approaches would be usually provided by a psychologist who work in a cognitive-behavioral model.

Presenter: Dr. Dan Bilsker, Psychologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Psychologist

Dan Bilsker, PhD, RPsych, discusses anxiety and panic attacks.

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