What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder affects the lives of many and can be disruptive not just to life enjoyment, but to performance of regular daily activities.

Worrying about certain things now and then is part of life. The unknown of the future can cause feelings of uncertainty, nervousness, and anxiety.

You may feel nervous before a first date. An upcoming test that counts towards a majority of your final grade may have you a little on edge while you’re studying for it. Or maybe you have a job interview or a big presentation that you’re feeling a little uneasy about.

Feeling nervous or anxious before certain life events is a completely normal human emotion.

When those nerves start to get in the way of your day-t0-day life, you may actually have a diagnosable disorder known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is known as an exaggerated anxiety or worry about everyday life with no obvious reason.

Everyone worries from time to time. GAD is when you worry constantly with little to no control over those worries. The worries become excessive and uncontrollable.

Worries typically involve things related to career, family, financials, and wellness. Worries about minor details, like small decisions and punctuality, can also be a burden on someone with GAD.

Here are a few examples of worries that someone with GAD may have:

What if…

  • I’m late for my dentist appointment?
  • in 30 years I don’t have enough money to retire?
  • my daughter gets in a car accident?
  • no one enjoys themselves at the party I planned?

Worrying that occurs on a daily basis for at least six months is usually a good indicator of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Causes of GAD

The exact cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is unknown. That being said, GAD is linked to several different factors like biological, environmental, genetic, and temperament.

The brain uses neurotransmitters to control the way a person feels. When these neurotransmitters are disrupted, it can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Several parts of the brain are heavily involved when it comes to fear and anxiety.

Anxiety can be triggered by environmental factors or traumatic events, like illness, divorce, or death. It can also be a learned behavior taught by family members who showed signs of stress or anxiety.

A child can inherit certain characteristics like eye or hair color from their parents. GAD can also be inherited. A parent who shows signs of GAD can also pass it on to their child.

Temperament is also a factor with GAD. If a child is showing signs of being shy when they’re younger, they’re more likely to show signs of GAD down the road.

Symptoms of GAD

The symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be different for everyone, however there are some common markers.

Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Apprehensive
  • Expecting the worst
  • Indecisive
  • Irritable
  • Lack of concentration
  • Restless
  • Trouble sleeping

Some of the physical signs of GAD include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Twitching

Treatment for GAD

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Getting help is possible.

Anxiety has a way of talking you out of seeking help. The thought of going to therapy may provoke your social anxiety and make you worry about how others will see you.

At Serenity Counseling & Wellness, you don’t have to worry about judgement. Our approach to treatment for anxiety is deeply compassionate and we’ll help you develop helpful coping skills so you can live your life without being plagued by worry.

No matter how anxious you feel, it is possible to improve your confidence and experience peace of mind. To begin your journey of healing and empowerment, you can call me at 281-944-SWCC for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I look forward to working with you!

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