What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by being constantly worried and anxious about matters related to money, health, family, school, work, or similar issues without any apparent reason. The condition can interfere with your ability to perform routine activities of daily living. The risk of developing this disorder is highest between childhood and middle age.
What are the Symptoms of GAD?
Some of the common symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Persistent worry and tension
- The feeling of impending doom
- Inability to relax
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty with handling uncertainty
- Trouble sleeping
What are the Causes of GAD?
Causes of generalized anxiety disorder may include:
- Family History: According to the research studies, there is a tendency to develop GAD if you have a family history of the condition.
- Brain Chemistry: There is an association between GAD and abnormalities in the neural pathways that connect regions of the brain associated with emotions and thinking.
- Traumatic and Stressful Events: These include:
- Experiencing relationship stress
- Financial mismanagement and uncertainty
- Death of a loved one
- Changing jobs
- A long-term health condition and medication
How is GAD Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of this condition may involve a physical examination to recognize the signs that anxiety may be caused by a medical condition, and blood and urine samples may be tested to confirm the diagnosis. Your symptoms will be discussed in detail, and you will be given psychological questionnaires to establish the diagnosis. Anxiety symptoms that are recurring and last for more than 6 months are considered one of the diagnostic criteria for GAD
Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy- This is one of the best short-term psychotherapy treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. This therapy focuses on learning specific skills to balance your emotions and to manage uncertain and worrisome situations.
Medications- The following medications may be prescribed:
Prevention of GAD
Here are a few steps to effectively avoid GAD
- Seek Therapy for Traumatic Experiences: If you notice that thinking about certain events in your life makes you overtly anxious, address the problem by seeking professional help.
- Educate Yourself: Learn about the disorder from your healthcare provider and trusted sources.
- Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine can have adverse effects that negatively impact GAD.
- Join a Support Group: Make a choice to surround yourself with a group of like-minded people that help each other find effective ways of dealing with anxiety issues.
- Maintain an Active Lifestyle: A healthy and active lifestyle will help improve your physical and mental health.