Anxiety disorders are currently the most common mental illness within the US, touching over 40 million people each year. This staggering number is why it’s important for those suffering from the condition to seek out Generalized Anxiety Disorder treatment (GAD) from a qualified mental health professional.
Read on for more information about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and its various treatment options.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are the classic “worriers.” They tend to live with a consistent worry about a variety of potential problems in their lives. Generally speaking, their concerns are out of proportion to the actual likelihood that these events would actually occur and they have difficulty managing these fears. These worries can be related to any aspect of their lives, including finances, health, danger and safety, or work. For those living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, it can become a daily challenge to stop the mounting worry from impairing their daily lives.
How do you distinguish Generalized Anxiety Disorder from normal worry? Mostly from the intensity and duration of the symptoms. Generally, normal worry is something you can be distracted from and is considered to be manageable. Generalized Anxiety Disorder tends to be more “pervasive, pronounced, and distressing (DSM-5).” People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder tend to have worries related to multiple domains of their lives, whereas normal worry is typically tied to a specific problem or situation. People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder tend to describe themselves as being anxious their entire lives whereas normal worry comes and goes. But the most important thing that distinguishes Generalized Anxiety Disorder from normal worry is that it causes impairment in some aspect of the person’s functioning.
The Signs of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If you are concerned that you or someone you love is suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms.
Some symptoms of general anxiety disorder may include:
- A persistent and ongoing worry
- Difficulty controlling the thoughts and feelings of worry or fear
- A constant feeling of edginess
- Becoming easily fatigued
- Muscle tension
- Recurring headaches
- Feeling sweaty
- Difficulty concentrating
- Recurring nausea
- the ongoing desire to visit the bathroom
- Sleep disturbance (typically difficulty falling asleep)
- Occasional trembling
- Ruminating thoughts related to safety or fear of a dangerous or catastrophic outcome
Generalized Anxiety Disorder may develop in the elderly when they are dealing with a chronic or serious illness. Often times people feel that this is “normal” due to their circumstances but it should be treated to allow the person to live a better quality of life. If you notice any of the signs or symptoms above, please speak with your doctor right away to see if Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be the problem.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is an extremely common diagnosis. Because of the emotional and physical discomfort this disorder causes, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are more likely to seek out treatment in order to help them feel better. In many instances, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are aware that their fears and worries are excessive or unrealistic and are frustrated that they can’t seem to get them under control.
When considering treatment for this disorder, it is important to remember that this condition affects people on the emotional, physiological and behavioral levels so treatment must address all of these aspects.
Cognitive behavioral treatment is considered to be the “gold standard” option for those suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This approach involves identifying the distorted thoughts that increase the experience of worry and developing strategies to replace these thoughts with more balanced ones. Changing the way one thinks can be very challenging because these negative thoughts happen very quickly in one’s mind; so quickly that at first, the person may not even realize they are having these thoughts. Over time, the therapist teaches the individual how to “catch” these anxiety-producing thoughts and also teaches them strategies to calm themselves and think more rationally. Cognitive-behavioral therapy requires that the participants do homework to help them make mental and behavioral changes.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may include such techniques as:
- Rational Thought Replacement
- Mindfulness Training
- Relaxation Training
- Behavioral Experimentation
- Exposure Therapy
- Identification of Problematic Core Beliefs
- Use of affirmations
- Social Skills Training
- Assertiveness Skills
For some people whose Generalized Anxiety Disorder is more intense, medication may be considered. Medication can only be prescribed by a medical doctor, such as psychiatrist, internal medicine doctor, family practice doctor, or even a nurse practitioner. SSRI and SNRI medications have all been found to be effective in treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In some cases, medications may be combined in order to provide better coverage of the symptoms. It is important to seek out the assistance of a qualified and experienced medical professional when considering psychiatric medication.
Get Help for Your Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If you believe that you are suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder it’s important not to suffer alone. Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder is extremely helpful and highly effective. Some people report feeling some improvement in just a few sessions.
If you are seeking more information on Generalized Anxiety Disorder or any other psychological symptoms you may be experiencing, please contact us today for more information on how we can help.
I’m Dr. Amy Boyers, a Clinical Psychologist in Miami who specializes in eating disorder treatment (all types including anorexia treatment, bulimia treatment, and binge eating treatment) and other long term conditions, including addictions, bipolar, and OCD. I offer personalized and sophisticated eating disorder treatment services, individual and family psychotherapy, family member support and education, in-home meal support, cognitive behavioral therapy, anxiety treatment, depression treatment, and much more.
Have any questions about the eating disorder recovery process? I’d be happy to answer them. Simply reach out to me and I’ll be sure to answer anything you want to know.
I look forward to helping you obtain a brighter tomorrow.