What is generalized anxiety disorder?
GAD is reasonably common and can effect anybody at any age. 1 in 20 people are effected, both children and adults.
A sufferer worries about everyday things at a completely different level to everybody else. Bills, work, relationships all cause massive amounts of nervous feelings, worry and anxiety.
Somebody with the disorder is in an almost constant state of worry about everything. A feeling of dread is constantly looming over their head, with everything in life seeming to cause them stress.
The anxiety and tension is often unfounded. The sufferer may or may not know that it is unfounded but can’t seem to stop the anxious feelings anyway. The worries going around and around in their mind.
Some worry is normal but when it causes you to alter your plans because you want to avoid it or if worry and anxiety constantly effects your life in a bad way you probably have a disorder.
As stated above a little bit of worry is completely normal. Everybody worries about things now and again but if worry and anxiety constantly effects your life, causing you to change plans to avoid situations or ruling your life completely, you probably have something called generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD for short.
The main symptom of GAD is chronic worrying about things and situations. often situations that don’t warrant any worry at all!
Not everybody has the same symptoms but there are certain signs to look out for.
Here are the main generalized anxiety disorder symptoms:
- Excessive worrying – you have worried everyday for 6 months about things or life in general.
- The anxiety is intrusive and effects your everyday life and routines.
- The worrying and concern are persistent, almost constant and are effecting your way of thinking about situations.
- The worrying gets to the point where it is stopping you from doing things. The worrying is debilitating and is causing you to change your plans or you are planning your life around what will cause you to worry.
The worries are often blown way out of proportion in the persons minds or are often just issues that are made up in their mind. And what usually makes it worse is that the person knows that they are worrying about nothing!
Sufferers feel anxious or tense nearly every hour of every day with worries constantly on their mind. The stress feels uncontrollable and unstoppable and sufferers will often try to stop thinking about the worries but can’t. The feelings of dread rule their lives.
Generalized anxiety disorder treatment
Like most forms of anxiety, the preferred treatment is psychological therapy. Your mind is causing these feelings, you need to reprogram yourself to realize that your worries are unfounded.
Note that this is no substitute for professional advise but it may help.
Tip 1: Try to reprogram yourself.
Your worrying is not caused by outside influences. Your worry is all on the inside. It is being caused by your brains thought processes.
Your worrying has a trigger but the anxiety comes from the inside. You need to analyze what you are worrying about and try and break the cycle. Try and reprogram yourself. Try to analyze what you are worrying about and try and realize that the worrying is unproductive and a waste of time. “What if…..” scenarios are probably not going to happen, try to switchyour thoughts to something else when you start to get into a “what if…..” worry cycle.
Tip 2: Relaxation will help your stress and general well being.
If you can learn to relax then you can learn to calm yourself down and you can learn to curb your anxiety. It sounds easy, but the fact is that most people struggle to relax.
There are techniques you can use to try and relax. Most of them are based on meditation techniques as this one is.
Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Your ultimate aim is to think of nothing. Absolutely nothing. Start by breathing heavily and concentrating on the state of your muscles, concentrate on how tense they are. When your breathing is heavy and steady, start concentrating on your muscles and start to relax them all, one by one. Start at your toes and then relax your legs,then your tummy, then your shoulders, then your arms and your face. Once your muscles are all relaxed try and think about nothing but the present moment. You may actually fall asleep after a few minutes! Practice this for ten minutes a night for a week and you will start to feel better.
Coping with the disorder
Treating generalized anxiety disorder takes time. It won’t happen over night but you can cope with it in a number of ways.
- Accept that you have anxiety, you need to accept it and work through it.
- Observe your worry and note down what is causing it and what times you feel the most anxious.
- Act as if there is nothing wrong, act as if you don’t have any anxiety at all and eventually you can convince yourself and your brain that it is nothing to worry about.
- Try and break your thought patterns because these are what are causing your troubles.
- Try to relax.
- Avoid alcohol and coffee.
It is hard, but you can get over it and live a happy life.