Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Feelings of dread, worry, lethargy, and a decreased interest in life are symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD often dwell on "what ifs" and get themselves into a trap of anxiety and worry. Feeling there is no way out of the trap leads them into depression.
About 3-4% of the population experience GAD. Much of the time sufferers cannot pinpoint a specific cause, or trigger, for their fears. It is continuously thinking, dwelling, and ruminating, and not being able to turn the thoughts off that leads to this disorder. People with GAD usually do not experience panic attacks. Although sufferers realize their worries are extreme or irrational, their feelings resulting from the thoughts are real.
Physical Signs of GAD
- trembling or twitching
- intense frustration
- difficulty focusing or concentrating
- problems sleeping
- heightened startle reflex
- inability to relax / always on the move
The mood of those with GAD typically fluctuates. Some report having good and bad days, others have mood shifts every hour or so. The symptoms are better at the end of the day for some sufferers while others feel better in the morning.
Everyday stresses, especially at work, can turn up the volume of GAD symptoms. An individual might have previously been doing well at their job but with this disorder the work turns to drudgery. When their livelihood becomes a constant chore, it generates even more anxiety. The vicious circle of ruminations must be broken to alleviate GAD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is known to be effective with GAD. CBT focuses on a person's thought process, or how they think, and helps GAD clients look at things from a healthier perspective. Medication is sometimes used with GAD, but often therapy alone is enough. CBT counseling can be accessed and used successfully, online.
Everybody worries sometimes. GAD worry is excessive, persistent, intrusive, and debilitating. People with this disorder cannot shut off the problematic thoughts. It can create in them a continual sense of dread, and inability to manage uncertainty. People with GAD often report feeling like anxiety cannot be controlled.
With help, sufferers can realize that worry is a self-generated problem. The triggering event may be outside themselves, but thoughts are generated in the mind. A counselor will therapeutically challenge their client’s idea that somehow worry is helping them, either by preparing them for the worst, or by protecting them like a talisman. In therapy, people with GAD can re-learn effective and productive thinking habits.