Stress | Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Those who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder lead a life that is governed by exaggerated anxiety and worry about
every single aspect of their live's, even when there is no apparent reason to worry.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects the way a person thinks about absolutely everything. They can't stop worrying
about their own health and the health of their family. They worry about work, school, relationships, money, the future; etc.
Their worry becomes excessive and often causes their thoughts and resulting actions to become completely unrealistic
and out of proportion to the actual situation which they may be facing.
Each and every day is spent in a constant state of worry, fear, dread, and turmoil, to the point where it interferes
with daily functioning and living.They tend to always expect the worst outcomes and disaster for their lives
GAD affects the way a person thinks, but the anxiety which that thinking creates can lead to physical
Here are some of the Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Feeling edgy
- Muscle tension
- Being easily startled
- Trouble falling or staying asleep.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Living in excessive and ongoing worry and tension
People with GAD often suffer from other anxiety disorders such as;
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
They can also suffer from depression, and abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Over 4 million adults in North America suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Most often it begins in childhood
or adolescence, but it also can begin in adulthood.
GAD is more common in women than in men.
What causes GAD? How is it diagnosed and treated? Can GAD be prevented?
The exact cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not fully known, but a number of factors would appear to contribute to
Some research strongly suggests that Genetics might play a role in inreasing the likelihood for a person to develop Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and that this tendency
for "increased likelihood" may be passed on in families.
Before anyone points an accussing finger at their parents, grandparents, et al; let me strongly emphasise
that science is not conclusive on this one. At this point it is only a "strong suggestion."
A whole host of Environmental Factors may lead to GAD. Traumatic events such as divorce, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or the death of someone you love might be trigger events.
Stressful events and periods of sustained heightened stress may cause GAD to worsen. The withdrawal from addictive
substances such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and caffeine may do the same.
Brain Chemistry also seems to play a part in GAD. Abnormal levels of certain brain neurotransmitters, which are special chemical messengers that help move information from nerve cell to nerve cell, may be out of balance.
If that is the case then messages cannot get through the brain properly and this can alter the way in which the brain
reacts in certain situations leading to anxiety.
If symptoms of GAD are present, the doctor will base a diagnosis on the intensity and duration of the symptoms,including any problems with the body's functioning caused by the symptoms. The doctor then determines if the symptoms and the degree of dysfunction indicate a specific anxiety disorder.
GAD is diagnosed if symptoms are present for more days in total than living symptom free for a period of
at least six months. The symptoms must interfere with daily living, such as abscences from work.
If no physical illness is discovered than a person may be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist who are specially
trained to diagnose and treat GAD.
Treatment for GAD most often includes a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The medications most often used for treatment in the short-term include Xanax, Librium, Valium and Ativan. These
medications are often referred to as tranquilizers because they leave you feeling calm and relazed.
Antidepressants, such as Paxil, Effexor, Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft, are also being used to treat GAD.
People suffering from anxiety disorders often participate in Cognitive-behavioral therapy in which
they learn to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to anxious feelings. It helps limit
distorted thinking by looking at worries and demands in a more realistic manner.
Unfortunately Generalized Anxiety Disorder cannot be prevented at this time. However there are a number of things which
can be done to either control or lesson symptoms. Here are a few;
- Seek counseling and support after a traumatic experience.
- Develop a Stress Management strategy and practice stress management techniques.
- Before taking any over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies speak to a doctor or pharmacist because many
contain chemicals that can increase anxiety symptoms.
- Reduce intake of caffeine.
List of Stress related Diseases and Disorders
"A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more
than is necessary."
Article by: Val Zans
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