While many people often feel anxious or stressed over situations at work or school, generalized anxiety disorder causes that anxiety to take over one’s life. Generalized anxiety disorder can be disruptive to a person’s life and cause them to miss out on many significant opportunities.
Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a mental health condition and anxiety disorder that causes a feeling of constant worry or stress disproportionate to the circumstances. Someone with GAD may fully realize that their anxiety is unfounded or beyond what the situation should warrant. However, they will still be unable to control their emotions despite this awareness.
Because of the stress involved, many people suffering from GAD will go out of their way to avoid circumstances that could worsen their anxiety. This may prevent people from taking opportunities at work or school, meeting new people, or living their lives to the fullest.
Most people will notice symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder begin in childhood or adolescence.
Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most mental health conditions in the United States. There are 6.8 million adults in the United States, over 3% of the nation’s population, who suffer from GAD.
A diagnosis will occur when someone has experienced uncontrollable worry or anxiety most days for three months. Additionally, someone with generalized anxiety will display three or more other symptoms outside of excessive worry.
Outside the persistent feelings of anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder can cause a variety of symptoms. People suffering from GAD will often appear nervous or “jumpy.” Since they constantly feel high stress levels, people with generalized anxiety disorder can develop an increased heart rate and high blood pressure if left untreated.
Generalized anxiety can often make it difficult for people to fall asleep or sleep through the night. This can lead to irritability, feeling tired or weak, and difficulty concentrating. Medications, specifically anti-anxiety drugs or sleeping pills, may be prescribed to people who have trouble sleeping due to anxiety.
GAD can cause a variety of physical symptoms as well. Anxiety can often lead people to have stomach issues or gastrointestinal problems. Mild to moderate joint pain, muscle aches, and headaches can also occur from stress.
One of the worst symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder is what it causes a person to miss. To avoid making their anxiety worse, people may be unwilling to take chances at work or school that could prove life-changing.
Many people with generalized anxiety disorder have trouble dealing with any level of uncertainty. To lessen their anxiety, they attempt to plan out every aspect of their lives. GAD can cause some people to feel that something terrible will happen at any time and that planning things out prevents these events. For these people, it is often easier to avoid situations that may be uncertain or impossible to plan for than it is to deal with the anxiety and uncertainty.
The top causes of generalized anxiety disorder are still not understood. However, various genetic, psychological, and environmental factors play a role in developing an anxiety disorder.
Being closely related to someone who has an anxiety disorder leads to the development of GAD. However, research remains unclear if the condition is genetic or based on learned behavior in this way.
People who are timid or shy are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than an extroverted person. Underlying medical conditions can also lead to the development of GAD. Heart disease and respiratory illnesses such as asthma can significantly increase feelings of stress and anxiety.
Even for those with no other risk factors, a traumatic event or major life event can easily trigger generalized anxiety disorder. Abuse or bullying in early childhood and adolescents can also greatly impact how anxiety affects a person later in life. These negative events can often make people feel that bad things will consistently occur, leading to constant stress.
Generalized anxiety disorder is usually treated through a combination of medication and therapy options. Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, are generally effective in reducing the symptoms associated with the condition. However, it is important to note that even if medications effectively reduce anxiety symptoms, they are not cures for anxiety. Medications are best used as one aspect of a broader treatment plan.
Talk therapy approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, are often helpful to people suffering from anxiety. CBT works to build coping methods and encourage healthier behavior in the future by reframing the negative thoughts and emotions we may experience.
Group therapy and support groups can also be helpful. GAD can cause people to miss out on meaningful life experiences, and finding a support system that understands the seriousness of that can be vital.
At AM Health Care, we are to help you deal with your mental health in any way possible. We believe in designing a treatment plan that precisely suits your condition and your needs. Mental health disorders can be disruptive and potentially dangerous when left untreated, so there is no reason to wait any longer. Please call us today at 818-383-1297 to learn more about how we can help you and potential treatment options.