How do I know when “normal” anxiety has gone out of control?

We all experience some form of anxiety in one way or another in our everyday lives. When this “normal” anxiety starts to interfere with our everyday functioning does it become a problem. For example, if you begin to see that your sleep has become disrupted, or you become so affected by your symptoms that you can no longer complete daily tasks, meet work or academic deadlines, or you find that your social life has been affected, and you have started to withdraw from friends and family.


What is anxiety?

Anxiety is different from fear in that when you are anxious, you cannot pinpoint exactly what you are anxious about, but feel a vague, distant dread that “something bad is may happen”. Whereas when you are afraid of something, the fear is directed towards an external situation or object. For example, fear of not meeting work deadlines, or fear of not being able to pay the bills. The focus of anxiety is more internal than external, where some people might describe that they are anxious about “losing control” of themselves or a situation.


Anxiety affects your whole being. You may experience it physically, behaviourally, and psychologically – and experiencing these reactions all at once may be overwhelming, scary, and debilitating.


Physiological symptoms may include: sweating, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, shortness of breath, dry mouth, etc. Behaviourally, it may impact on your ability to function in everyday life as you may avoid certain activities or feared situations that elicit the physiological sensations of anxiousness (e.g. going to the grocery store for fear of experiencing a panic attack). On a psychological level, you may feel like you are in a constant state of uneasiness or apprehension.


How does a psychotherapist help me with my anxiety?

A psychotherapist will work with you in a number of ways to help you cope. They may help you to understand the source of your anxiety, and what triggers you may have that intensify your symptoms. They may also work on helping you to reduce your physiological symptoms through providing coping skills and techniques for relaxation and stress management.


If you feel that your anxiety symptoms have gone out of control, and you would like to get help in learning to cope with it – let’s talk.

Anxiety FAQ

How can a therapist help me with my anxiety?
A therapist can provide you with different coping strategies to deal with your anxiety. This may possibly include a combination of talk therapy, grounding techniques, and progressive muscle relaxation exercises.

How do I choose a good therapist to help me cope with my anxiety?

In choosing a good therapist for anxiety, consider the following factors: therapist’s educational background (i.e. Psychotherapy-related degree at a Master’s level), specialisation areas (i.e. have they seen many clients with anxiety-related issues?), work experience, and whether they have a professional registration with specific colleges (i.e. CRPO or CPO).

What therapy method helps with anxiety?

There are many therapeutic modalities to help your struggles with anxiety. This is dependent on the client’s preferences. For example, some clients prefer Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), while others may want to approach their anxiety-related issues using mindfulness-based therapies.

Does anxiety have a cure?

Unfortunately, a therapist cannot cure you from anxiety. You can manage to lower your anxiety through using coping tools and possibly explore pharmacological treatments with your physician or family doctor.

Do I need medication for anxiety?

Consult your family doctor, physician, or psychiatrist to explore pharmacological treatments for anxiety-related issues.

How long must I go for therapy for anxiety?

Typically, therapy is most effective when a client attends regular therapy sessions (i.e. once per week) in the early weeks of treatment. It may take 16 – 20 sessions before you begin to feel the positive effects of therapy.