Anxiety is the body’s normal reaction to stress. It can be initiated by any stimulus such as fear, nervousness, apprehension, etc. Anxiety disorders are, however, different. They are a set of mental illnesses that can keep you from carrying out your daily work. There are 5 major kinds of anxiety disorders.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD is different from the normal feeling of apprehension. People who have GAD tend to worry uncontrollably over the usual happenings of your life. The fear and worry become so constant that it interferes with a person’s life. That’s why it is also called chronic anxiety neurosis.
A generalized anxiety disorder differs from panic attacks and phobias. Phobia is the fear of one particular thing or situation whereas panic attack is intense but long short-lived. GAD can be physically and mentally exhausting for a person. It disturbs the sleep pattern, drains the energy of a person and wears them out.
Signs and Symptoms of GAD
Generalized anxiety affects the way a person thinks. The symptoms seen are different in everyone ranging from emotional and behavioral to physical. These signs can worsen if it is not taken care of in the early stage. Some of the symptoms are mentioned below.
- Excessive worrying and persistent anxiety over events that have none to minor impact.
- Overthinking and making worse scenarios in the head
- Going through solutions and plans for situations that are unlikely to occur
- Unable to tolerate uncertainty and fear of making the wrong decision
- A restless, pervasive feeling of uneasiness, apprehension
- Inability to control anxiety and overthinking
- Difficulty in concentrating and focusing
- Unable to relax and enjoy a tranquil time
- Try to avoid situations that overwhelm them
- Muscle tightening and body aches due to feeling tense
- Have trouble sleeping
- Nervousness, sweating, and irritability
- Nausea, diarrhea, stomach problems
- Trembling, feeling on edge, jumpy
Often, a person feels anxious without any reason. These behavioral and physical symptoms can cause distress and affect other areas of life such as work or social life.
Like many other mental health disorders, generalized anxiety disorder is caused by various biological and environmental factors. The causes may include:
- Genetics; family history of anxiety
- Child abuse
- Prolonged exposure to stressful situations
- Personality development; how the stress is taken by an individual
GAD can be diagnosed through mental health screening or by filling out a questionnaire. This disorder can be associated with thyroid diseases, heart diseases, menopause or substance abuse. Blood samples, urine tests, X-rays, and stress tests are taken to determine the underlying cause of anxiety.
GAD is treatable and can be cured through psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both. Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves regular sessions with a professional. The goal is to learn skills that help control anxiety by changing the way of thinking. Whereas, many people opt for medication. These drugs help relax the symptoms of anxiety. However, antianxiety drugs shouldn’t be taken for a longer period.