Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Worry and nervousness are feelings that we all experience from time to time. Your heart may beat faster, your face may flush, and you may have a sensation of “butterflies” in your stomach. This type of anxiety is healthy; it keeps us from entering or remaining in situations that are dangerous or threatening to our lives. This anxiety is also passing, and usually resolves itself once we’re out of the situation of danger.
Anxiety becomes a problem when you experience excessive worry and nervousness over normal, everyday things, for an extended period of time (usually more than 6 months). People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) often fear the worst when it comes to relationships, finances, employment, or health. Their fear is persistent and it not usually realistic, which causes them to experience distress that makes it hard to enjoy life.
GAD is common, and can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, and socioeconomic status. GAD is caused by a variety of factors, including your brain chemistry, a buildup of stressful life events, and certain predisposing personality traits.
There are several symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, including:
- Sleep difficulties
- Muscle tension
- Nausea and gastrointestinal issues
- Racing heart
- Difficulty concentrating and/or focusing
Without treatment, the symptoms of GAD may continue to interrupt your quality of life. However, treatment has been proven effective in supporting people with GAD to get back to enjoying life. Here are some next steps to help you get started:
- Relaxation strategies can help to decrease the physical symptoms of anxiety. The more you feel your heart racing and your breathing changing, the harder it is to calm yourself down. Try to breathe deeply.
- Counselling with a mental health provider has been proven to be very effective in helping individuals overcome Anxiety issues. Not only can a trained counsellor help teach you the strategies needed to help stop the anxiety cycle, they can also help you use them correctly.
- In severe cases one should also consult their family doctor since medication, when taken in conjunction with counselling, has often proved helpful.