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Anxiety and Depression

What is Anxiety?

The definition of anxiety according to The American Psychological Association (APA) is "an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure." Anxiety is a normal reaction you may experience when in a variety of situations. It is an important system that warns us that we may be in a dangerous situation. It is also helpful to keep us motivated to study for tests or ensure our presentation for work is finished in time.


Anxiety disorder differs from regular anxiety in a few ways. Anxiety disorder can be identified if you experience anxiety symptoms for no apparent reason, your anxiety response is much larger than what you would expect in a certain situation, when the anxiety feelings last long after the situation is no longer present, you start to avoid things you know cause anxiety, or you become anxious thinking about a situation that may never realistically happen.

It is helpful to be able to differentiate between normal anxiety and anxiety disorder. For more information about anxiety click on the following link.

What is Depression?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

We all feel blue sometimes, so how do we know when we should seek out help from a health care practitioner (doctor, counsellor, psychiatrist)? If you have had the following symptoms consistently for more than two weeks, it may be time to visit a healthcare practitioner:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed

  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue

  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)

  • Feeling worthless or guilty

  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

For more information about depression, click on the following link.

How Does Counselling Help With Anxiety and Depression?

There are many ways we can approach anxiety and depression. If you have anxiety disorder, we will look at the things that cause your anxiety, explore ways we can manage the anxiety, and discover therapeutic methods that suit you.

If you are dealing with depression, we will take a biological, psychological, and social approach to developing a treatment plan suited to you. We will help you cope with the feelings, problem solve, and change behaviour patterns that may contribute to your symptoms.

Other ways we can help will include:

  • Increase the understanding of your mental health condition

  • Define and reach wellness goals

  • Overcome fears or insecurities

  • Cope with stress

  • Make sense of past traumatic experiences

  • Separate your true personality from the moods caused by your condition

  • Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms

  • Improve relationships with family and friends

  • Establish a stable, dependable routine

  • Develop a plan for coping with crises

  • Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them

  • Work on ending destructive habits such as excessive drinking, using drugs, overspending or unhealthy sex

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