What is Anxiety?

  • Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems. One in four people will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
  • Anxiety disorders can result in significant personal and societal costs, such as lost wages, decreased productivity, reduced quality of life, and frequent use of health care services.
  • Treatments for anxiety disorders are highly effective. Cognitive behavioural therapy, medications, or a combination of these approaches is very effective.
  • There are six different anxiety disorders, the symptoms and treatments for which are described on this site.


Research suggests that there is no single cause of anxiety disorders, but there are several theories:

  • Genetics. A family history of anxiety or other mental health problems may increase the risk of having an anxiety disorder.
  • Learned behavior. You may have learned anxious behaviour from your parents or other caregivers.
  • Research indicates that childhood stress can affect people into adulthood, resulting in an anxiety disorder.
  • An imbalance in brain chemistry may be a factor in developing an anxiety disorder.
  • Acute or prolonged stress may trigger anxiety problems.

Anxiety disorders are NOT caused by a weak personality nor a lack of desire to get better.

  • You can get better whether you know the cause of your anxiety or not. While you may be curious as to why you developed an anxiety disorder, it is not necessary to know the reason in order to recover.
  • Anxiety disorders are very treatable. Help is available. With treatment, individuals can significantly diminish their feelings of anxiety.