Generalized Anxiety Disorder
By: Michael Appleman, M.S.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is when persistent worry and anxiety
about your health, work, money or family last for at least six months, even when there are no signs of trouble in your life. Doctors have found that constant and uncontrollable worry and anxiety may be due to a GAD.
GAD is a long-term illness that can last for many years before it is even diagnosed and treated. This is why many people with GAD believe their anxiousness is purely a part of their personality. All of us must realize that GAD is an illness that can and will interfere with our every day life and is connected with physical symptoms.
Major Symptoms of GAD
The major symptoms of GAD contain worry, anxiety and tension. If you think you might have GAD, ask yourself the following
1. Do I worry excessively about minor issues?
2. Am I nervous most of the time?
3. Am I stressed most days?
answered yes to all three questions, may mean that you are suffering from GAD. You should consult your doctor for the proper diagnosis.
Other Symptoms of GAD
Due to these symptoms being physical in nature, the emotional aspects of GAD can go unnoticed by your doctor. As a result, many people visit their doctor several times because of these physical symptoms before GAD is diagnosed and treated. In order to help the doctor become more aware of your problem and make the correct diagnosis, talk to him/her about all your symptoms including any constant worries that you may have.
Who Suffers From GAD?
GAD affects more than five percent of Americans throughout their lifetime. These individuals do not have to be burned or injured in other ways to suffer from this disorder. GAD has been found to be twice as common in women from 45 years of age and older then in men. Gad has also been found in adults from the ages of 25 and over.
What Causes GAD?
The precise cause of GAD is not known. It is thought to maybe be caused by a several factors. These factors can include but are not limited to, a family history or a physiological chemical imbalance, and that symptoms may get worse during periods of stress.
Can Preexisting Disorders Cause GAD?
Although GAD can exist on its own, it has been found that 90% of people who suffer from GAD may have preexisting conditions as well. These are:
1. Depression: Is a sad or empty mood and the loss of interest or pleasure in most activities once enjoyed.
2. Panic Disorder: The occurrence of repeated, severe unexpected horror or awaiting destiny.
3. Social Anxiety Disorder: An extreme constant fear of scrutiny and embarrassment in social situations.
4. Alcohol Abuse
5. Drug Abuse
1. Counseling with a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health counselor or social worker.
2. Attending local and/or internet support groups.
4. Combination of therapy and medication.
Anxiety disorders are commonly treated by two different types of medication. The first type of medication is called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). SSRI has been found to help control the symptoms of anxiety by regulating the balance of serotonin in the brain. SSRI has been found to be safe and effective for long-term use and is well tolerated by the human body.
The second type of medication used to treat GAD is called benzodiazepines. This type of drug has been used for many years with very good results. The most common medications used from this class of drugs are Valium, Xanax and Ativan. These medication have been found to be addictive and should be used with caution.
Talk Therapy Treatment:
It has been found that talk therapy and/or counseling may be an effective way of treating anxiety. These types of therapy can help an individual control their anxiety symptoms. Talk Therapy treatment can include:
1. Behavioral Therapy: This type of therapy can teach the individual how to cope with difficult situations.
2. Cognitive Therapy: This type of therapy can teach the individual how to differentiate between realistic and unrealistic thoughts.
3. Relaxation Techniques: This can help decrease nervous tension that can contribute to anxiety.
How Can I Start Taking Control?
First you must reach out and ask for help. Contact your doctor, local health clinic, local hospital, organization, a family member or friend. Always remember that you should not feel embarrassed about seeking help. That is the first step toward your recovery.
Second, try to stay positive. Although you may feel hopeless and worried at times, with the help needed you can rebuild and keep the positive attitude. So, take the first step in order to join the millions of people that have turned their lives around and learned how to control the negative thoughts. You may be asking yourself how can I take the first step.
1. Ask For Help
2. Seek Support.
3. Contact Organizations
A. American Psychiatric Association: >www.psych.org; 1-888-357-7924.
B. Anxiety Disorders Association of America: www.adaa.org; 301-231-9350.
4. Learn how to stay positive.
5. Get Involved.
So remember that it is best to discuss treatment plans with your doctor. Do not be afraid to reach out for help. Understand that you are not the only one. And after you recover think about helping others so they can better their live.
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