Skip to main content

Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear that won’t go away. It affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It becomes a problem when your daily living activities—like work, school, self-care, and socializing—are negatively impacted. Anxiety that seems uncontrollable or overwhelming, and doesn’t go away, may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder is not the same as stress. With an anxiety disorder, the symptoms are extreme and don’t go away once the stress is over.

It’s important to know that you don’t need to suffer. Some people find they're able to manage the symptoms of their anxiety disorder by stress management, relaxation techniques, exercise, and getting enough sleep. Professional help includes cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy, and medication.
 

What is normal?

Everyone experiences anxiety at times in their life, especially when life gets stressful. It’s normal for people to feel anxious if they’re in a dangerous situation, or before events like public speaking or an interview. But too much anxiety that doesn’t let up, and that interferes with your day-to-day activities, could be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

 

What are common signs and symptoms?

If you’ve experienced some of the signs below, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

  • Constantly tense, worried, irritable, or on edge
  • Anxiety interferes with your work, school, or family responsibilities
  • Bothered by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake
  • Believing that something bad will happen if things aren’t done a certain way
  • Avoiding everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety
  • Sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic
  • Feeling like danger and catastrophe are around every corner

But anxiety is more than just a feeling. It also comes with physical symptoms:

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Stomach upset
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension or twitches
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Insomnia

 

Should I seek help?

Some anxiety is normal, but see your doctor if you feel like you're worrying too much, if it's interfering with your school, work, or relationships, if you feel depressed or irritable, have trouble with using  alcohol or drugs, or you have other mental health concerns along with anxiety.

If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviours, seek emergency treatment immediately—call 911 or the Nova Scotia Mental Health Crisis line at 1-888-429-8167.

Your worries are not likely to go away on their own, and they could actually get worse. Anxiety may be easier to treat early on, so get professional help before your anxiety becomes severe.

Tools

Mental Health 101

Knowledge is power. This series of free online tutorials is a starting point for learning about mental health.​ You can come away with a greater understanding of the mental health concern you are interested in knowing more about.

More Information:

Adults / Seniors / Youth

Mood Meter

We can all take actions to improve our ‘mood’ or mental wellness. The Mood Meter is a creative way for you to think about how you are feeling and what actions you can take to improve your mental wellness.

More Information:

Adults / Seniors / Youth

MindWellU Challenge

The 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge teaches you how to lower stress, increase resilience and improve well-being, performance and optimism so you can become more present at work, out in the community, or with friends and family. 

More Information:

Adults / Seniors

28 Program(s)

IWK Mental Health and Addictions Program

IWK
This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

The IWK Mental Health and  Addictions Program provides specialized care throughout the province for children and youth up until their 19th birthday within a patient and family...

More Information:

Children / Youth

Canadian Mental Health Association - Colchester East Hants Branch

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Colchester East Hants Branch provides public education, advocacy, and a resource center to support the resiliency and recovery of...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors

Canadian Mental Health Association - Halifax-Dartmouth Branch

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Halifax-Dartmouth Branch works at the community level and facilitates access to the resources people require to maintain and improve...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors

Canadian Mental Health Association - Nova Scotia Division

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Canadian Mental Health Associations in Nova Scotia are the oldest community-based mental health and addictions charitable organizations in the province, founded in 1908. The...

More Information:

/
Adults / Seniors

Laing House

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Laing House, located in Halifax, is a drop-in centre for youth aged 16 – 29 living with mental health illness and/or challenges. Based on peer support, youth can meet friends...

More Information:

/
Adults / Youth

Healthy Minds Cooperative

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Healthy Minds Cooperative is an innovative mental health cooperative that provides a variety of peer-based services to people with lived experience of mental health issues and...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors

Hope for Wellness HelpLine

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

The Hope for Wellness HelpLine offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. Experienced and culturally competent...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors / Youth
First Nations, Indigenous

Eskasoni Mental Health

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Eskasoni Mental Health Services (EMHS) provides a wide range of services to the Mi’kmaq people of Eskasoni, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The Tui'kn Residential School Survivor...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors / Youth
First Nations, Indigenous

Caregivers Nova Scotia

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Caregivers Nova Scotia provides free programs, services, information, and advocacy for family and friend caregivers. We are dedicated to providing recognition and practical assistance to friends and family giving care.

More Information:

Adults / Seniors
Caregiver, Family

Kids Help Phone

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service. We offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young...

More Information:

Children / Youth

211

211
This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that can connect you to thousands of programs and services offered by local community groups, nonprofits and government departments across Nova Scotia, 24/7.

More Information:

Adults / Children / Seniors / Youth

Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services - Mental Health Programs and Services

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) is responsible for administering Non-Public Property (NPP) on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff and for delivering...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors
Canadian Forces, RCMP

Veterans Affairs Canada Assitance Service

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Veterans Affairs provide targeted services and benefits to improve well-being including support and services related to your physical and mental health and wellness.The VAC...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors
Canadian Forces, RCMP

Geriatric Psychiatry Acute Inpatient Unit

The Geriatric Psychiatry Acute Inpatient Unit is for individuals over the age of 65 with a new onset of mental illness or for individuals of any age with dementia and complicated medical and/or psychological symptoms.

More Information:

Seniors

Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Program

Seniors mental health services provide assessment, consultation and treatments to:

  • seniors aged 65 and older for a new onset of mental health challenges
  • individuals of...

More Information:

Seniors

Mental Health Day Treatment Program

The Mental Health Day Treatment Program is a full-time, six week intensive group psychotherapy program. The program is for individuals with mental illness who also have long...

More Information:

Adults

First Responders Assist

This service will offer short-term counselling and supportive services, including follow up if needed, for first responders and their families impacted by the tragedies of...

More Information:

Adults
First Responders

Adult Neurodevelopmental Stabilization Unit - Dual Diagnosis Program (Intellectual Disability in combination with Mental Illness)

The Adult Neurodevelopmental Stabilization Unit (ANSU) is an acute care unit that provides services for persons with intellectual disability and acute mental illness that...

More Information:

Adults

Community Outreach Assessment Support and Treatment Team (COAST) - Dual Diagnosis Program (Intellectual Disability in combination with Mental Illness)

The community outreach assessment support and treatment team provides services for persons with both intellectual disability and also mental illness. These services include:

...

More Information:

Adults

Seniors Mental Health Services

Seniors mental health services provide assessment, consultation and treatments to:

- seniors aged 65 and older for a new onset of mental health challenges;
- individuals of...

More Information:

Seniors

School Mental Health (SchoolsPlus)

The school mental health clinicians provide individual and group therapy, mental health and addictions education for school staff and consultation services. Clinicians are on...

More Information:

Children / Youth

Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic

The Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic provides mental health services to Veterans, eligible members of the Canadian Forces (CF), RCMP members and former members, who have...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors
Canadian Forces, RCMP

Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line

The Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line provides crisis intervention for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis or mental distress.

...

More Information:

Adults / Children / Seniors / Youth

First Nations Services

Mental Health clinicians work as part of the first nations health care team in several first nations communities. The Mental Health Clinician provides assessment, diagnosis...

More Information:

Adults / Children / Seniors / Youth
First Nations, Indigenous

Crossroads Clubhouse

Crossroads Cape Breton is community organized to support people living with mental illness in reclaiming and enhancing their lives. People are referred to as “members” because...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors

Adult Community Mental Health and Addictions Services

Community Mental Health and Addictions includes a team of mental health and addictions professionals who provide services on an outpatient basis. The team provides assessment...

More Information:

Adults / Seniors

Child and Adolescent Services

Child and Adolescent Services/Child Youth and Family/Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinical Services provide mental health and addiction services to children and youth...

More Information:

Children / Youth

CaperBase Outreach Services

CaperBase is a one-stop shop resource centre for youth up to age 24.

We work with youth, families, schools, and community organizations to provide a safe, youth-friendly space that is confidential and non-judgmental.

More Information:

Youth

811 LogoIKW Logo211 Logo