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April 23, 2012 / mike54martin

What You Should Know About Anxiety

Mental health issues and mental illnesses are a cause of great concern in our society and in our workplaces. Yet no one seems to want to talk about them. It’s time to bring these issues out into the open so that people and our workplaces can get the help they need. Here are a few things you should know about anxiety, one of the major mental issues facing Canadians at home and at work.

Anxiety can affect everyone

Almost everyone has experienced anxiety at one point in their life. It could be nervousness before a job interview or being anxious in a new workplace situation. But when this anxiety creates a significant distress in your life or you have any one of a number of serious symptoms as a result of anxiety then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders range from general or social anxiety to panic disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders. If you think you have an anxiety disorder you are not alone. About 12% of all Canadians are affected by an anxiety disorder every year.

Anxiety is a big problem for young people

Statistics Canada’s 2006 Community Health Survey of Mental Health and Well-being revealed that people aged 15 to 24 are most likely to experience anxiety disorders and studies in Canada and the U.S. have also shown that about 30 per cent of post-secondary students suffer from a mental health or substance abuse issue, compared to 18 per cent of the general population. There are also few resources or services to assist young people who experience higher stress or anxiety.

Your workplace can cause anxiety

Statistics Canada has reported that 38.8% of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 75 are slightly stressed at work, 25% are relatively stressed at work, while 5.4% are extremely stressed at work. Stress, anxiety and depression are rampant in many workplaces and the reasons for the added pressure could come from a myriad of factors including longer hours and more work after the downsizing in the mid 1990’s or lack of personal control over an individual’s work and work priorities.

Anxiety can be treated

The good news is that most anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. The first step is to get a proper diagnosis from a specialist in anxiety disorders and then follow their recommendations. For most people this means a combination of drug therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The most common drugs prescribed are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs and it is important to inquire about possible side effects of any medication. CBT involves helping people turn their anxious thoughts and feelings into more rational ones.

If you think you have an anxiety disorder then talk to someone who might be able to help. If you know someone with an anxiety problem talk to them and tell them there’s help out there. It’s time to talk about mental health issues.

This article first appeared on my blog at www.jobs.ca

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and a workplace wellness consultant.

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One Comment

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  1. Kitty Kilian (@KittyKilian) / Apr 27 2012 8:53 pm

    Yes! This should be said more often!

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