Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a part of life and completely natural from time to time. However, there is a difference between feeling anxious over an anticipated event and experiencing so much concern on a daily basis that it interferes with your quality of life. If uncontrollable distress or nervousness sounds familiar, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may be to blame. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the several diagnosable forms of anxiety that inhibit a person from enjoying life to the fullest. The generalized anxiety disorder definition explains that GAD is characterized by at least six months of uncontrollable anxiety, usually about more than one aspect of life (finances, family, relationships, etc.). In conjunction, fear is accompanied by at least three physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or fatigue. 

In short, the generalized anxiety disorder criteria determine that GAD symptoms include excessive worry when no danger is present. Additionally, these feelings are not able to be attributed to any other condition, such as substance abuse or some other medical condition.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Examples

Signs of generalized anxiety disorder can sometimes be difficult to decipher from everyday concerns. Some real-world examples of generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include the following: 

  • Excessive worry that is not precipitated by a serious event 
  • Perceiving threats when none exists
  • Constantly imagining worst-case scenarios
  • Fear of making decisions or of making the wrong one
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Fatigue or sleeping problems
  • Muscle aches, tension, or twitching
  • Nervousness or irritability
  • Stomach problems (nausea, diarrhea, etc.)
  • General sense of doom or impending danger to self or loved ones

If this list of GAD symptoms resonates with you, rest assured that you are not alone. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 20 percent of Americans receive an anxiety diagnosis at some point in their lives. In regards to GAD specifically, generalized anxiety disorder statistics reveal that nearly seven million Americans (about three percent of the population) will be affected by this type of anxiety during any given year. Exact generalized anxiety disorder causes are difficult to pinpoint. However, there are a few risk factors to be aware of. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Causes

There is no exact formula to determine the causes of GAD. This type of anxiety builds slowly over time and is most likely due to a combination of biological and situational factors in a person’s life. However, a few patterns do exist that indicate that GAD is more likely for some people than others. Risk factors for GAD include:

  • Genetics
    GAD is found to run in families suggesting that there’s a genetic component to developing this type of anxiety disorder. 
  • Brain Chemistry
    Simply put, if the chemicals in the brain that regulate emotions are off-balance, the result could be anxiety symptoms.  
  • Traumatic Events
    Exposure to trauma at any point during a person’s life could contribute to developing an anxiety disorder. 

Regardless of the cause of GAD, generalized anxiety disorder treatment is available and greatly increases the chances of recovery. To discuss a generalized anxiety order diagnosis, a primary care physician or mental health professional trained in how to diagnose anxiety can provide assessments to help determine the likelihood that generalized anxiety is present. If the general anxiety symptoms meet the GAD criteria, GAD treatment options will be discussed. 

Natural Anxiety Treatment

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Anxiety is often overlooked and left untreated. However, the outlook for those who suffer from GAD is good as long as treatment utilized. While there is not a specific generalized anxiety cure, numerous effective treatment options assist in the management of this type of anxiety. 

In general, GAD treatments methods can be categorized by the following:

  • Lifestyle Changes
    This includes things like exercising and minimizing foods that aggravate anxiety, such as caffeine and alcohol. 
  • Psychotherapy
    Counseling that helps a person recognize worrisome thought patterns can greatly assist in moving through the anxious symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders
  • Medication
    Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications can reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Medication for anxiety is best used in conjunction with psychotherapy since medication alone will not address the root causes of GAD. 

In most cases, a combination of all three treatments will provide the best results. It is important to mention that GAD commonly co-occurs with other mental health disorders, such as depression or substance abuse disorders. When this occurs, treatment should address each disorder and how they affect one another in order to optimize recovery.  

When Anxiety Help Is Needed: Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Georgetown, Ohio

At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital near Cincinnati, Ohio, our treatment team is well versed in managing all types of anxiety disorders. At our inpatient mental health facility, one of the goals of anxiety treatment is to learn what triggers your personal anxiety so you can understand how to manage anxiety symptoms when they present themselves. We accomplish this with careful consideration of your personal experiences through our inpatient mental health program. In addition, through our dual diagnosis program, our treatment team is able to address any potential co-occurring substance abuse disorders, which frequently accompany anxiety. 

To learn more about how to start your recovery you contact us online or call our admissions staff at 937-483-4933, oftentimes we can get you admitted on the same day. 

You do not have to suffer from anxiety. With Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, you can begin healing today.

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