Anxiety disorders

Seeing a spider or crossing a bridge can be very uncomfortable for some people. Just like being in the middle of a crowd, attending a wedding or requesting leave can cause panic for other people.

When you hardly sleep, when you don't want to leave your home, when relationships at work, at home or with children become nightmares, or when you get stomach pains and your thoughts become foggy, it is time to act.

It is okay to talk about what troubles us.

Overview of some anxiety disorders

Panic attack

These are episodes of intense anxiety that appear with or without apparent reason. Physical symptoms include hot flashes, palpitations, nausea, dizziness, tremors, shortness of breath, feeling of suffocation. It is an intense fear of either passing out, losing control, dying or going crazy. Sometimes the person is afraid of other attacks and worries about their consequences.



It is a fear of being in a place where it would be dangerous to have a panic attack. This often leads the person to avoid or flee these situations. Examples include: being in a public place, going to a restaurant, a cinema, being alone at home or elsewhere, taking the elevator, crossing a bridge or driving on the highway, going to the doctor, the dentist or the bank, sit in the back in a car. It is a state that risks diminishing a person's freedom, limiting their social life and isolating them.


Social phobia

It is a significant fear of the judgment of others which has negative consequences on the quality of life of people who suffer from it. Some people feel very uncomfortable with certain situations and even try to avoid them. Examples include: eating in public, talking to your boss, expressing your opinion during a meeting, talking to strangers, looking for a job, going to the public restroom, doing group activities or participating in social events like weddings, funerals, office parties.

Generalized anxiety

Some people experience significant anxiety that is difficult to control and fairly constant with life in general. They often experience fatigue, muscle tension, create negative scenarios, often become hypervigilant and more vulnerable to stress. We speak of generalized anxiety after at least 6 months of excessive and persistent anxiety accompanied by physical symptoms.


Specific phobias

It is an obsessive fear of an object or situation. Examples include: fear of certain animals or insects; fear of heights, of water, of thunder; fear of flying, elevators, closed spaces; fear of injections, blood; fear of vomiting, passing out, etc.



The organization La Clé des champs has prepared a list of resources, some of which are in English, on the various themes affecting anxiety. Consult their website at the Resources tab.


If stress and anxiety are so disturbing to the point of no longer functionning normally, it is recommended that you speak to a doctor, psychologist, social worker or professional licensed to practice psychotherapy. The Ordre des psychologues du Québec site serves as a guide to ensure that you consult a competent person.