What is it?
Anxiety disorders are prevalent, serious and persistent health problems affecting behaviour, thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Research shows that 10-20 per cent of the population experiences such disorders.
An anxiety disorder is much more than the occasional stress that everyone experiences in their lives. An anxiety disorders is not a sign of weakness, they should be regarded as seriously as any physical illness. Characteristics of anxiety disorders include excessive anxiety, exaggerated fears known as phobias, worry, panic attacks, avoidance, obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. People of all social, economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds can be affected. Health, relationships and overall functioning can also be impacted.
Anxiety disorders include:
- Panic Disorder
- Agoraphobia (avoidance of spaces or situations associated with anxiety)
- Specific Phobia (intense fear of particular objects or situations)
- Social Phobia
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Acute Stress Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder due to a general medical condition
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder
At The Royal, anxiety disorders are treated by a combination of medication and cognitive behavioural therapies in group and individual sessions tailored to specific anxiety disorders.
The Royal’s Anxiety Disorders Program provides a wide range of specialty services, including regular and extended consultations, medication treatment and psychological therapies using proven and efficient interventions. The program is suitable for adults aged 18-65 with Axis I anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia and specific phobia. The program specializes in treating patients who do not respond to conventional treatment.
Treatment is provided by a team of professionals with specialized knowledge and expertise in dealing with the medical and psychological aspects of anxiety as well as social and vocational rehabilitation. The program team will also liaise with family physicians and community mental health agencies as required to ensure that patients receive the best ongoing care.
The Anxiety Disorders Program contributes to leading-edge research at the Stress and Anxiety Clinical Research Unit on biological, genetic and psychological causes of anxiety disorders and development of new, unique treatment strategies. Clients likely to benefit from research (for example new interventions or new investigations) and teaching will also be accepted for treatment under the Anxiety Disorders Program.
Crisis Services for People with Anxiety Disorders
A crisis intervention service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Mental Health Crisis Service can be reached at 613.722.6914 or 1.866.996.0991.
Psychiatric Emergency Services at The Ottawa Hospital can be reached at 613.722.7000.
The following are some community resources for persons with anxiety disorders (websites contain educational and advocacy information):
- Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada
- Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario – Support Groups: Ottawa: 613.729.6761 or 1.877.308.3843
- Anxiety Disorders Association of America
- International OCD Foundation
- A Post Psychiatric Leisure Experience (APPLE): 613.238.1209
- Canadian Mental Health Association: 613.737.7791
- Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team: 613.722.6914
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Support Group: 613.722.3607
- Ottawa Family Services Centre, Mental Health Program: 613.725.3601
- Parent Help Line: 1.800.603.9100
- Parent’s Lifelines of Eastern Ontario (PLEO): 613.321.3211
- Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa: 613.567.4379
- Recovery Inc.: (Information 6-9 p.m.) 613.749.5418
- Tel-Aide Outaouais: 613.741.6433
Self-help Books About Coping With Anxiety Disorders
“The Anti-Anxiety Workbook.”
Authors: Martin M. Anthony & Peter J. Norton. 2009. Science-based strategies to help you to overcome worries, phobias, panic and obsession.
“Anxiety Free: Unravel Your Fears Before They Unravel You.”
Author: Robert L. Leahy. 2009. Addresses phobias, panic, obsessions and compulsions, generalized anxiety, social anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder using step by step techniques.
“The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You.”
Author: Robert L. Leahy. 2005. Specific techniques and tools to help reduce chronic worrying (generalized anxiety disorder).
“Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts: How to Gain Control Of Your OCD.”
Authors: Christine Purdon & David A. Clark. 2005. For general readers to address repetitive thoughts or impulses as a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Provides information and skills to reduce distress.
“The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven Techniques for Overcoming Your Fears.”
Authors: Martin M. Antony & Richard P. Swinson. 2000. Outlines causes of the social anxiety, symptoms, impact and treatment. Skill-building exercises to help enhance communication, gain confidence in public speaking and develop positive new relationships.
“Don’t Panic: Taking Control of Anxiety Attacks.”
Author: Reid Wilson. 2009. Information to help identify your components of panic, tools and techniques to overcome panic disorders & phobias, and clarity on major issues (e.g., medication, research, etc).
“Overcoming Compulsive Checking: Free Your Mind From OCD.”Author: Paul R. Munford. 2004.
Written specifically for compulsive checking sufferers, it uses cognitive behavioural techniques to treat the symptoms.
“The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques For Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms.”Author: Mary Beth Williams. 2009.
Provides information and proven techniques to conquer trauma-related symptoms.