Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Do you feel anxious, worried or tense almost all the time? Do you feel anxious even when you know, in the back of your mind, that there’s really nothing to feel anxious about? Does your anxiety level interfere with your relationships and your everyday life? If your answer is yes to these questions, you may suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.

GAD is just what it sounds like – a disorder in when you experience generalized anxiety almost all the time. Unlike phobias or specific anxiety problems, like social anxiety, with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you constantly feel anxious for little or no reason, most of the time. This can be a difficult disorder to overcome, but it is possible to combat it. Here’s what you should know about this disorder:

What are the main symptoms of GAD?

The main symptoms of GAD are just the same symptoms of anxiety that people feel when they’re dealing with normal levels of anxiety or worry. However, with GAD sufferers, these symptoms are nearly always present, even if they’re just present at low levels. Some of the symptoms of this disorder include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Restlessness or an edgy feeling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Startling easily
  • Muscle tension and aches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

Generalized Anxiety Disorder sufferers will experience these symptoms in different combinations and strengths, depending on their own responses to anxiety. This chronic condition can start even in early childhood, and it looks similar, sometimes, to other mood disorders, such as depression and even obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What causes GAD?

No one is really sure what causes GAD, although it seems to be related to hormonal imbalances among neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, in the brain. However, people who undergo abuse or trauma in childhood, who have chronic illnesses, who have other family members with GAD, or who abuse substances like alcohol and drugs can be more predisposed to develop Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It’s also much more common in females than in males.

Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The treatments you choose for your GAD should depend on your personality, your beliefs, and the severity of your GAD. Some people prefer to go with a medication route as soon as possible, because it’s often the simplest and quickest way to get rid of the disorder. However, just the process of sorting through medications to find the right medication at the right dosage can be stressful, so be aware that this could be an issue you experience.

There are also lots of things you can do at home to ward off symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, including exercising daily, eating a healthy diet, sleeping consistently and enough, and using various relaxation techniques. My personal favorites are yoga and deep breathing exercises.

Besides this, you should make sure you’re using some sort of therapy to understand the thoughts behind your GAD. Often, sufferers find that cognitive-behavioral therapy is helpful because it helps them take control of their negative or unrealistic thoughts and turn them into realistic, positive thoughts. Since much of Generalized Anxiety Disorder happens in your thought processes, just learning to take control of those processes is helpful.

If you’re suffering from this anxiety problem , you’re certainly not alone. If you don’t already have an excellent support network, it’s a good idea to find one. Find a local support group for anxiety sufferers, or even check into online forums and support groups just for people who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and other anxiety problems. Having support can make a huge difference, and it may be the difference between overcoming and succumbing to your Generalized Anxiety Disorder.