WHAT IS ANXIETY

Anxiety is a normal part of life for everyone. Taking an exam, meeting with a boss or authority figure, having a near accident, or travelling by airplane may all invoke anxiety.

Anxiety can even be helpful in preparing for a challenge or change. However, when anxiety is prolonged or too intense, it can then become a condition requiring professional help. In North America, 25 million adults and 3 million children suffer from severe anxiety. Anxiety is the most common emotional disorder, outranking depression and drug/alcohol abuse.

Anxiety sufferers may experience many of the following symptoms:

- Rapid heartbeat

- Dizziness

- Shortness of breath

- Choking feeling

- Trembling or shaking

- Sweating

- Chest pain or discomfort

- Fear of dying

- Fear of "going crazy"

- Nausea

- "Unreal" feelings

- Hot or cold flashes

- Restlessness

- Tire easily

- Irritability

- Dry mouth

- Frequent urination

- Social phobia

- Difficulty falling or staying asleep

- Muscle tension

- Feeling "all keyed up" or "on edge"

- Difficulty concentrating or "going blank" from anxiousness

While these symptoms may also be caused by certain medical conditions, when no medical problem exists, severe anxiety, panic disorder, or agoraphobia may be the cause.