Everyone worries, becomes afraid, or experiences anxiety about things in life. While anxiety can take many forms, it is typically either a fear about something an individual thinks “might happen,” or a state of physiological over-arousal resulting from a distressing situation. Anxiety becomes a problem (and a disorder) when the fear is continuously present and distressing, getting in the way of things like school, work, relationships, hobbies, and self-care. Anxiety disorder can take many forms, but common symptoms often requiring treatment include frequent distressing thoughts and worries, avoidance of specific situations, and/or physical symptoms that are not explained by medical issues.
Sometimes worries are justified and sometimes they aren’t, but if anxiety is causing impairment to an individual’s life, then it may be helpful to think of anxiety as a “false alarm”. Anxiety is maintained when individuals avoid the situations they feel are threatening. This strategy works in the short-term, but long-term this coping strategy prevents the individual from learning that their fears may not be justified.
Anxiety-oriented services at BCSC: