Generalized Anxiety Disorder

If your everyday life feels overly stressful, it is normal to experience mild feelings of anxiety and apprehension. However, when normal day-to-day- routines become overly exhausting, it may be time to seek out assistance from psychiatric care.

People with General Anxiety Disorder cannot seem to shake their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. This disorder constantly causes chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, even though nothing seems to provoke it.

Individuals who suffer from this disorder are consistently anticipating disaster, often worrying excessively about health, money, family, or work. They often have trouble falling or staying asleep; and their worries are accompanied by physical symptoms, especially trembling, twitching, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, sweating, or hot flashes. They may feel lightheaded, out of breath, nauseated, need to go to the bathroom frequently, or they might feel as though they have a lump in their throat. Sometimes, though, the source of the worry is hard to pinpoint. Simply the thought of getting through the day provokes anxiety.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) fluctuate. Individuals may notice better and worse times of the day, or better and worse days in general. And while stress does not cause generalized anxiety disorder, it can make the symptoms worse.

Not everyone with generalized anxiety disorder has the same symptoms. But most people with GAD experience a combination of a number of the following physical and psychological symptoms:

Physical Symptoms of GAD:

  • Muscle tension, aches or soreness
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Stomach problems, nausea, diarrhea
  • Jumpiness or unsteadiness
  • Edginess or restlessness
  • Tiring easily

Psychological Symptoms of GAD

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of Dread
  • Inability to control anxious thoughts
  • Inability to Relax
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Fear of Losing Control or Being Rejected

Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The practitioners who are most helpful with anxiety disorders are those who have training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or behavioral therapy, and who are open to using medication if it is needed.

According to the DSM, the two main treatments for generalized anxiety disorder are medications and psychotherapy. Most individuals may benefit from a combination of the two, though it may take some trial and error to discover exactly what treatments work best for a certain person.

Several different types of medications are used to treat generalized anxiety disorder including Antidepressants, Buspirone (BuSpar), and Benzodiazepines. In limited circumstances your doctor may prescribe one of these sedatives for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms. Examples include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and alprazolam (Xanax). If you think you or a family member is suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, the next step is seeking out a mental health professional.

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