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Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Facts to Know

Separation Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Facts to Know

Feeling anxious isn’t necessarily unusual, considering the daily pressures that can arise. In fact, worrying occasionally is expected. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), feeling anxious is “a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations.”  It helps you to stay alert in the face of challenges. It keeps you aware and watchful about what is going on in your life.

However, it requires attention when it is excessive, intense, persistent, or is difficult to control; thereby affecting your day-to-day life. If you are battling with excessive worrying to the extent that it is affecting your decisions, mood, thoughts, and behaviors in negative ways, be aware, because you could be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder or GAD.

Are you worrying too much about a lot of things lately? Could you be gripped with GAD? What facts should you know to help you stay in balance and improve it?

 

What is GAD?

WebMD describes generalized anxiety disorder as “characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry.”  Those saddled with the condition are more inclined to “expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school.” GAD can be incapacitating with chronic symptoms lasting for at least six months.

 The fear or apprehension is usually unrealistic or disproportionate to the situation. It can be accompanied by many unwanted physical symptoms. All these can result in your feeling constantly fearful, worried and dreadful. Without treatment, it can dominate your thinking, overwhelm you and disrupt your everyday functioning.

 

You aren’t alone.

Anxiety is noted as a the most common emotional conditionaffecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population…” and “GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population,” says NIMH. GAD is so common in the United States, that over 42 billion dollars a year is spent treating it, according to a study commissioned by ADAA – which is approximately one-third of the country’s mental health budget.

 

 GAD can affect anyone.

 This type of anxiety does not choose its “victims.” GAD can affect children, teens, adults, and older adults, though research shows that women are more prone to it. Children and adolescents may refuse to go to school, harbor excessive fears, and exhibit social isolation or aggression. As a result, they may miss out on various social and academic engagements and experiences, perform poorly in school, and/or get involved in risky behaviors.

GAD also affects a significant portion of the older adult population, so that it’s earned the name, the “silent geriatric giant.” Late-life GAD could be linked to chronic illness, taking multiple medications, solitary living or the “empty nest” syndrome, and the grief for lost loved ones and contemporaries.

 

What causes or contributes to it?

Even though GAD affects many different people, vulnerabilities are different between individuals. Its precise root is not fully understood, but there are a few factors linked to it, such as genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental influences. This means that you are at greater risk when it runs in the family or you have a chemical imbalance.  This also implies that your tendency to succumb to GAD can be higher when you have traumatic life events.

The link between anxiety and genetics is gaining wide support because of the studies supporting this relationship. Brain anomalies due to inherited traits can impact the abnormal production of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters that regulate your emotions. Biological malfunctioning may also be triggered by brain injuries caused by accidents or ailments. The genetic tendencies, however, can be modified by environmental factors, which emphasizes the role of early therapy or treatment.

 

The symptoms you should watch out for.

The symptoms are non-specific, meaning they resemble the symptoms of other emotional or medical conditions. This makes recognizing GAD symptoms challenging and why it’s important to seek the professional assistance of an expert.

 According to WebMD, some physical symptoms to pay attention to are:

 

  • Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
  • An unrealistic view of problems
  • Restlessness or a feeling of being “edgy”
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • The need to go to the bathroom frequently
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Trembling
  • Being easily startled

 

It can result in your feeling unwell.

Studies show that people weighed down with generalized anxiety disorder are likely to see a doctor or mental health professional more often for various medical and emotional symptoms/conditions. Because the symptoms are non-specific, they can confuse you to suspect another condition.

 It can also impact your immune system, and you can become prone to many other ailments. You may also be at increased risk as it co-occurs with bipolar disorder, ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactive disorder) headaches and chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sleep and eating disorders, fibromyalgia, body dysmorphic disorder, and substance abuse. One specific finding is that 32 percent of patients with multiple sclerosis, a neurological ailment, also manifest GAD symptoms.

 

 It often co-occurs with depression and other emotional conditions

It’s not unusual for an individual with GAD to also suffer from depression and for the depressed to suffer from anxiety. In fact, studies show that nearly 50 percent of those diagnosed with depression also have anxiety.

Those weighed down by other emotional conditions are also at higher risks to GAD. The condition may similarly contribute to vulnerability to other anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, social anxiety, agoraphobia and specific phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These relationships underscore the importance of treatment to prevent complications.

 

 GAD is an emotional condition that can be treated and its symptoms alleviated.

The symptoms can overwhelm you, but statistics show that only about one-third of the sufferers are receiving treatment. Like any condition, GAD symptoms need to be treated so its symptoms can be resolved and the situation improved. There are several treatment options available for you.

Psychotherapy is a popular option as a single treatment mode, particularly at the early stage of GAD. It is also a treatment option when the use of medication is not a preferred or healthy option, such as when the patient is pregnant, has another condition, or is taking multiple medications. Even if medication is being used, it is a recommended treatment as it powerfully supports or enhances lifestyle and perspective changes that provide a long term solution.

GAD is a serious emotional condition that should be treated by an experienced therapist. A counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC, on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks can help. GAD isn’t something that you have to bear through or allow to interfere in your life, because it can be successfully treated and its symptoms improved through therapy.

Therapy is an invaluable process that allows you to be involved in your own recovery. It offers skills that can help you resolve your symptoms throughout life. It can help you put the things into perspective that contribute to your fear and worry. Work with a trained professional who genuinely cares – Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC, on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks, can match you with just the right independently contracted therapist. Call to make your first appointment!

 

 

 

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC

Counties: Harnett County

Areas: Cameron NC, Linden Oaks NC, Sprout Springs NC, Anderson Creek NC, Olivia NC, Pineview NC, Johnsonville NC, Spring Lake NC

Zip Codes: 28326, 28327, 27332, 28394

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Tricare Prime, Tricare Standard, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Fetima Wellington, MS, LPC, LCAS-A

Specializes in: (Ages 6+) Children, Adolescents/Teens, Individuals, Couples, Family Therapy and Marriage Counseling. Anxiety, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Addiction and Recovery, Relationship Issues, Post Partum Depression, Family Conflict, Crisis Intervention, ODD, Conduct Disorder, LGBTQ
 Insurance: BCBS, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

 

Brittny Gainey, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples, Families. Anxiety, Depression, Academic/Behavioral Issues, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, Trauma, Christian Counseling upon request
 Insurance:

BCBS, Medicare, Tricare, Tricare Prime/Standard, NCHC, and Cash
(credit cards accepted)

 Credit Cards:

Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Laura Gose, MA, LPC

Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Individuals, families, PTSD, Trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Adjustment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, communication skills, and Parenting Skills, Aggression, Behavior Management, Life transitions, Family Conflict, Difficulty Coping, Relationship Problems, Depression, Anxiety
Insurance: BCBSTricare, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted and Apple Pay

Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Apple Pay is accepted by Laura Gose, MA LPC

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Carolina Counseling Services - Cameron, NC
35 Plantation Drive, Suite 100B and 100C
Cameron, NC 28326

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