Anxiety and Worry
Excessive worry is often the hallmark of chronic anxiety. People who are chronically anxious often may feel that it is difficult to break out of a chain of troubling thoughts where one worry leads to another. Some people are anxious in certain types of situations, such as being judged by others, social situations, dating, or speaking in public, and other people find they worry about most situations.
Anxiety is generally associated with physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, feeling hot, light-headedness, shortness of breath, and muscle tension. Chronically anxious people often experience apprehension and foreboding about their future as well as restlessness and irritability.
Panic attacks are sudden intense feelings of anxiety or terror. Symptoms of panic attacks include physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling, sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness, and hot flashes. Individuals experiencing panic attacks often feel they are going insane, losing total control, or having a heart attack.
Some individuals with panic attacks develop agoraphobia, the fear of places or situations from which escape would be difficult or places where they particularly fear having a panic attack. People with agoraphobia often fear busy public places (such as crowded shopping malls), bridges, or being away from their house alone.
Phobias are intense fears of specific situations or objects. Common phobias are fear of heights, flying, or certain types of animals. If you have a phobia you will either attempt to avoid the situations that are the focus of your fear or experience intense anxiety when confronting those situations.
Depression/Low self esteem
Depression is one of the most common psychological problems that people experience. Individuals who are depressed often experience feelings of personal worthlessness, helplessness to achieve the kind of life they desire, and hopelessness about their future.
Depression has a variety of symptoms such as persistent sadness; a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities; a lack of energy; appetite changes; difficulty concentrating; self-criticism; withdrawal from social activities; difficulty making decisions; and suicidal thoughts.
Periods of sadness are a normal part of life, but if you are experiencing depressive symptoms to the point that they are negatively affecting your relationships with people you care about, your work, or your overall engagement with life, you would probably benefit from seeing a clinician.
Insomnia or Problems with Repeating Nightmares
Some people find that sleeping is difficult because of inability to go to sleep, repeated awakenings, or waking up earlier than wanted, problems with recurrent or repeating nightmares. Dr. Hart helps to address these problems using cognitive-behavioural therapy, a kind of psychotherapy that works to reduce both of these problems.
Some people find that it is hard to cope with the stress of being diagnosed with a medical problem, and others would like help with coping with their medical illness. Others would like help in changing behaviours that are exacerbating their medical illness, such as smoking, not exercising, eating food that is against medical advice, or having trouble taking medications on time. Dr. Hart has worked with patients with medical problems such as HIV, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic pain.
Some people have trouble with sexual functioning, such as erectile dysfunction, problems with arousal, or anorgasmia. For these problems, it is good to first consult with a physician to assess if there is a medical cause for this type of problem. If your physician assesses that the problem is not medically caused, or the problem is related to anxiety or worry in sexual situations, then a cognitive-behavioural approach may help you.
Often people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer face a number of difficult problems throughout their lifetime. Concerns related to coming out, identity, homophobia/heterosexism, transphobia, relationships, and sexuality are approached in a supportive, affirming and respectful manner.