Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAD is characterized by chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. People with this anxiety disorder worry about things even when there is no need to and have a tendency to predict negative outcomes. They may also worry about important things that everybody worries about, such as money, health and family, but they take these worries to the extreme.
It is called general anxiety disorder because these feelings are not tied to one specific thing as they would be with a phobia. Instead, this sense of worry and tension pervades most if not all of their life. People with GAD may struggle with simple everyday things and find it difficult to relax.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder might include:
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling restless
- difficulty falling or staying asleep
- inability to relax
- being easily startled
- becoming tired easily or feeling fatigued
- muscle aches and tension
- headaches and lightheadedness
These and other symptoms of GAD may develop slowly over time. They may go up and down in severity, becoming more intense when your stress levels are high. At a mild level, GAD doesn’t prevent people from functioning in a normal, day to day life. But at the severest level it can make even simple things a challenge.
If you believe you may have generalized anxiety disorder, the first thing you should do is visit your doctor and receive a proper diagnosis. Talk to them about your symptoms and they will do an exam to determine if your feelings are indeed related to generalized anxiety disorder or to some other cause.
Once you’ve worked with your doctor, you can begin to determine what sort of treatments may be best for you. Psychotherapy and/or medication are the most common forms of GAD treatment.
Within the realm of psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy has been found to be helpful to those suffering from GAD. This form of therapy can help you learn different ways of thinking about the things that worry you and find new ways of behaving and reacting to stressful situations that are more healthy.
Medication can also be helpful in treating GAD. Such medication usually includes anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants. Make sure to work closely with your doctor to find the right balance of medication and to always handle your prescriptions responsibly.
If you are worried you might be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, don’t be afraid to reach out. Share your concerns with a loved one and speak with your doctor as soon as possible. He or she can help you get the help that you need.