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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a mental and physical reaction to perceived threats. In small doses, anxiety is helpful. It protects us from danger, and focuses our attention on problems. But when anxiety is too severe, or occurs too frequently, it can become debilitating.

Psychoeducation is an important early step in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The understanding and normalization of anxiety will allow your clients to better recognize their own symptoms, and understand the rationale behind common treatments.

The What is Anxiety? worksheet presents a simple, easy-to-understand overview of anxiety. Topics include symptoms, types of anxiety, the cycle of avoidance, and common treatments such as CBT, relaxation skills, and exposure. We recommend using this worksheet in conjunction with a discussion of an individual's personal experience with anxiety.

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1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

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