Anxiety, Depression, Stress

Anxiety/Panic

Anxiety has been described as an ongoing sense of dread or apprehension. Accompanying physiological symptoms may include shortness of breath, rapid pulse, tightness in the chest, a knot in your stomach and, in extreme episodes, can lead to a heightened panic experience. In Anxiety/Panic, the fear may be irrational but the sense of being threatened and/or unsafe is very real.

While a certain amount of anxiety is normal for everyone, we seem to live in a particularly anxious time. Anxiety, and/or panic, is now the most common mental health concern in Canada. For most of us, we are normally able to keep our anxiety and worries from becoming too great, however, there can be times in our lives when our anxiety starts to interfere with our lives and/or work. We seem unable to control our anxiety, worries, and/or sensations of panic. While medications can be used to help control anxiety, they are often a short-term solution at best. Counselling, on the other hand, has been found to be very effective for the treatment of anxiety and/or panic sensations, and can help to prevent anxiety and/or panic attacks from recurring after successful treatment.

Our experienced counsellors can help you manage your anxiety symptoms, both when the early warning signs appear, and when the anxiety becomes ongoing and limits you from engaging in everyday life.

Depression

Most people experience a depressed mood from time to time. Sometimes, we have a ‘down’ day; at other times, we experience grief from a significant loss or tragedy.

There are a variety of theories of how depression is caused. Regardless of how depression is caused, research indicates that counselling is a very effective treatment for depression. In particular, counselling has been shown to be just as effective as antidepressants for most cases of depression — with far fewer side-effects, and less risk of depression recurring after it has been treated.

 

Self-Esteem and Confidence

Almost no one goes through life without struggling with their self-esteem or confidence at points. Whether it be at work or in our personal relationships, our sense of self is challenged. Self-esteem refers to the way we view ourselves. When we have a negative impression of ourselves, it can be hard to engage in daily life with confidence. Everybody has areas in their lives that they wish were better. Some of us have been told that we don’t quite measure up by parents, siblings, or so-called friends. When we begin to suffer from overwhelming feelings of discouragement and shame because of these issues, we may need someone to talk to.

Thankfully, we can learn how to accept ourselves as we are and adjust maladaptive patterns of thinking that no longer serve us. We improve our self- esteem by taking action over the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to a negative self-image. In so doing, we can face the world with greater confidence than ever before.

Food and Body Image

Disordered eating is a complex mental illness that affects many people. Given our society’s hyper-focus on body image, there is an incessant pressure to look a certain way. There are a number of struggles people can have with food and/or body image: overeating, anorexia, and bulimia are just a few. Initially the behavior may develop out of a desire to cope. Some may feel that their body is the only source of control they have in their currently overwhelming life. Disordered eating can have life-threatening complications, but it is also treatable with the proper interventions and supports.
Here at ACS, we have skilled counsellors who work from a client-centered perspective to help individuals struggling with challenges related to body image or disordered eating. Treatment approaches are offered in coordination with other health care professionals (e.g., physicians, nutritionists, etc.).

Family of Origin

While no family is perfect, some families struggle to cultivate a caring, safe and empathic home environment. Chaos and instability in the home soon begins to feel normal and overwhelming. Members may neglect responsibilities, treat each other unkindly, forsake vows, and engage in physically, emotionally, sexually, or spiritually abusive behaviors. They may be manipulative and critical. Some members may abuse alcohol or other drugs. Growing up in homes with this type of disruption and turmoil can be extremely stressful, and the effects can echo through decades of one’s life.

If you come from a painful and stressful upbringing, you can transcend and overcome difficult and maladaptive behaviors. Our ACS counsellors can guide and support you in rewriting your family script. By breaking the cycle you will learn to set boundaries and engage in healthy patterns grounded in love and respect.

Life Transitions

Navigating transitions and changes can be stressful and challenging. Stress occurs when it appears that we do not have adequate resources to meet the demand or a situation. According to researchers in human behavior, some of the most demanding transitions that we have include getting married, losing a loved one, divorce, moving, losing a job, and changing careers. Most of us will face many of these situations in the course of our lives.

Sometimes a number of life changes coincide. The more we have to face at once, the more we have to stretch our health, our emotions, and our finances to address each need. Sometimes life is simply too complex or overwhelming for us to handle on our own. In these cases, it is a good idea to seek the assistance of a professional counsellor. A trained counsellor can help you face changes and assist you through the transition process.

Workplace Violence or Harassment / Bullying

Defined by Alberta Health and Wellness as physical assault or aggression, unsolicited and unwelcome conduct, comment, gesture, or contact, which causes offence or humiliation and physical harm to any individual which creates fear or mistrust or which compromises or devalues the individual.

It can come from anyone, be directed at anyone, be deliberate or unintentional, subtle or overt, a single occurrence or a repetitive situation. It can be an abuse of authority, and involve relationships between co-workers, or affiliated personnel. The emotional effects can include anger, anxiety, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The counsellors at Associates can offer support and guidance around the effects of what can be a stressful and often traumatic experience.

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