Fears and anxiety

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It is quite normal to feel anxious at one time or another. It is a natural reaction to stress that can be beneficial in some cases because anxiety helps individuals cope and find solutions. It also spurs us on to action and change. It can protect us and help us deal with worrying or perhaps dangerous situations. Anxiety is felt as a fear whose cause is sometimes difficult to pinpoint. This feeling is accompanied by physical symptoms and possibly psychological symptoms.

It is natural to feel anxious at certain times; for instance when experiencing challenging situations or a life-changing event such as a separation or changing jobs. It is also completely normal to be anxious on the eve of an important presentation or an exam. Anxiety is then linked to a specific event and usually subsides when life goes back to normal.

However, anxiety becomes a problem if:

  • It does not stop when a troubling situation returns to normal;
  • It causes a high level of distress;
  • It occurs without any apparent reason and has no connection to a specific event;
  • It is always bothering you;
  • It prevents an individual from functioning normally at work or in areas of personal life.

Such anxiousness can then be a sign of an anxiety disorder, with the most common forms being generalized anxiety, phobias, and obsessive and compulsive behaviour.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Do you continually feel anxious without being able to determine why?
  • Is it hard for you to carry out your social, professional or family obligations?
  • Do you have the following physical symptoms: difficulty concentrating, fatigue, dizziness, or a feeling of choking or suffocating?
  Visit the Portail santé mieux-être of the Gouvernement du Québec for more information about symptoms, when to consult, treatment, complications, protection and prevention, risk factors and people at risk.  


Resources are available for help and to obtain further information about anxiety disorders:

To receive care or services, or to find a psychotherapist with whom you are comfortable, contact one of the following resources:

* Source: Portail santé mieux-être of the Gouvernement du Québec