Commonly referred to as GAD, generalized anxiety disorder is the excessive uncontrollable worrying about daily life events and activities, usually accompanied by unpleasant physical symptoms. It affects around five percent of general population at given time, although it is twice as common in women compared to men.
Research proves that almost 90% of people with GAD will have another mood or anxiety disorder. The most common are major depression, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
Typical sufferers of GAD usually go to the doctor to be treated for their physical symptoms, and do not realize that their anxiety could be the cause of the pain.
Physical symptoms include:
- Sore muscles (usually shoulders and neck)
- Heart racing
- Discomfort in the abdomen
- Excessive sweating
- Irritable bowel syndrome usually accompanies GAD
Generalized anxiety can also cause sleep problems such as:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble initiating and/or maintaining sleep
- Waking up frequently at night,
- Having restless or unsatisfying sleep.
The mental symptoms include:
- Excessive worrying
- Being irritable
- Snapping at people for minor issue
- Becoming easily upset.
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling fidgety/restless
- Being unable to sit still
- Worries are chain linked and leading. Ex. What if I don’t get that job? Will I be able to pay for the mortgage? What if I can’t send my kids to university?
Characteristics of a person with GAD
- Excessive reassurance seeking (asking for the opinions of everyone for minor decisions)
- Checking (calling loved one several times a day to see if they’re ok, checking email for spelling)
- Information seeking or list making; have to grocery shop with a list, must read every book on subject before making decision
- Refusal to let others do anything incase they do it wrong
- Avoidance or procrastination; includes avoiding friendships and new opportunities. Typical patients procrastinate in order to have little time as possible to worry once the task is done
- Have others make decisions for them because they feel too uncertain
- Distraction/keeping busy; to keep from worrying, sufferers of GAD bury themselves with work
How to diagnose generalized anxiety disorder?
The difference between a normal person who is worrying over a stressful event and a person worrying due to anxiety is that a person inflicted with GAD worries when everything is fine. To be diagnosed as a chronic GAD sufferer, the constant worrying has to be prolonged over a period of over six months. Most patients claim to not remember a time when they were not worrisome, and this is due to the fact that typical sufferers of GAD usually develop the disorder around the age’s eleven to twelve. Recent studies show that there are higher levels of anxiety in children.
Anxiety Treatment Cure
To treat generalized anxiety disorder, physicians usually try to identify the physical problems first. If no illness is found, the patient is usually referred to a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Mental health professionals are able and specially trained to diagnose and treat mental health disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder. Most anxiety treatments involve a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.
Medications prescribed work best for patients whose daily functioning are interrupted by generalized anxiety disorder. Medications used to treat GAD include:
- Benzodiepines; this group of medication is more commonly known as tranquilizers, since they leave the patient feeling calm and relaxed. They work to relieve the physical symptoms of GAD, such as muscle pain and restlessness. (Xanax, Librium, Valium, and Ativan)
- Certain antidepressants are also prescribed to treat GAD, although they take several weeks before they start working. Treatment involving antidepressants are more appropriate for the long term. (Paxil, Effexor, ProzacLexapro, and Zoloft)
The benzodiepines listed here are considered narcotics and are not available at Online Pharmacies Canada
Cognitive behavioral therapy involves teaching patients to recognize and change typical thinking patterns and behaviors that lead to anxiety. The purpose of this therapy is to limit distorted thinking by looking at worries more realistically.