Adult Anxiety Disorders

Problem Description

During any given year, at least one in ten Canadians experiences clinically significant difficulty with anxiety. Over the course of a lifetime, one in four Canadians will experience a significant problem with anxiety. Some of the common anxiety problems include:

  • Panic disorder - sudden and unexpected episodes of anxiety or bodily symptoms such as rapid heart rate, chest pain, stomach discomfort, difficulty breathing, lightheadedness or dizziness. The individual often fears and avoids situations where panic attacks or symptom episodes have occurred in the past.
  • Social anxiety disorder or social phobia (or excessive shyness) - fears of embarrassment or humiliation in social situations.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder - a tendency to worry excessively about a variety of different topics.
  • Health anxiety - worries about having or developing a serious illness without clear cause for such worry.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder - problems with repetitive, unpleasant thoughts (such as thoughts of being dirty or contaminated, about making mistakes, or about harming someone unintentionally) and repetitive behaviors or rituals (such as excessive checking, cleaning, or counting).
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder - difficulty with anxiety or other symptoms that occurs after direct or indirect exposure to an unusually traumatic event. The symptoms may occur long after or may persist for many years after the traumatic experience.
  • Specific fears or phobias - such as fears of enclosed spaces, animals, medical or dental procedures, etc.

Services available

Consultation is provided concerning assessment and treatment of the various anxiety disorders. Effective psychological treatments are available for all of the anxiety problems. Psychological treatments for anxiety are generally at least as effective as medication treatments. They also have the advantage that few individuals experience negative side effects that may occur with medications. The results also tend to be maintained long after the treatment is completed.

Description of Services and Treatment

The patient assessment of anxiety takes place in a one-to-one meeting with a specialist in stress and anxiety problems. Following this, the individual receives information about the assessment and reviews recommendations and treatment options. Psychological treatments are typically provided in a group format although there is limited availability of individual treatment. Cognitive-behavior therapy treatment involves education about the problem, learning coping strategies, and practice applying the coping strategies in challenging real-life situations. Often a book or workbook is used as part of the treatment. There is no charge for the treatment but the individual may be asked to purchase a book or workbook.

Key Provider(s)

Dr. Patricia Furer, C. Psych.
St. Boniface General Hospital

Dr. Laine Torgrud, C. Psych.
Grace Hospital

Dr. Rehman Abulrehman, C. Psych.
St. Boniface General Hospital


St. Boniface General Hospital
Telephone 237-2335

Grace General Hospital
Telephone 837-0319


Group programs are offered in the afternoon and evening. Most individual appointments are scheduled during regular office hours.

Referral Process

Referral from a family physician, other medical specialist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or another health care provider.

Links to other resources

Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba

Canadian Psychological Association fact sheets on effectiveness of psychological treatments:

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