Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. About The Causes, Signs, and Symptoms, and how you can treat them quickly.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorders – Photo by Liza Summer:

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know

When it comes to anxiety, people often assume there is just one type of ‘anxiety’. When in fact there are a lot of different varieties. It is possible that people with mild anxiety. Simply have a habit of overthinking or worrying a little more than the average person. But when it comes to anxiety disorders, it helps to know which one you have.

The reason you need to narrow it down to the type of anxiety disorder is. Because you understand more about what you are going through. It teaches you the potential causes, signs and symptoms, and how you can treat it. Living with anxiety isn’t easy, but it is possible.

One of the more common types of anxiety disorders is called generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. This type of anxiety will give you an overwhelming sense of worry and sometimes dread. By learning more about this disorder, you will understand yourself and your own actions. Then hopefully work toward getting proper treatment.

1. What is Generalized Anxiety Disorders?

Generalized Anxiety Disorders?
Generalized Anxiety Disorders? – IMNubi Network

With generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), you have a very high amount of anxiety. The specific severity and frequency of this anxiety disorder will vary from person to person. However, it is generally an overwhelming sense of worry, fear, and anxiety.

It can come at any time without warning, or be triggered by an event, memory, fear, or person. GAD is actually quite complex when you figure out. All the details and characteristics that people with this anxiety disorder possess.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. Someone with GAD doesn’t always have to have something to trigger the anxiety or the panic attacks that often follow.

They can simply be overly worried most or all of the time.

Someone without this anxiety disorder might be nervous about going to the dentist, but someone with generalized anxiety disorder is so fearful, it might cause tremors, body shaking, and even severe, debilitating panic attacks.

It makes daily life rather difficult, especially with work, school, and personal obligations. Some people with GAD will find it impossible to drive because they are fearful of what might happen while they are in the car. Others experience other anxiety disorders along with GAD, like social anxiety or agoraphobia.

It is also common for someone to think they just worry a lot, but don’t realize they have an anxiety disorder. If you think you might have it, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor and then see a therapist.

They will determine if you might have generalized anxiety disorder. Then will help you to control it and live with it on a day by day basis.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. And about 3 percent of the population in the United States alone is struggling with GAD every day.

2. How it Differs From Other Anxiety Disorders

Other Anxiety Disorders
Other Anxiety Disorders – Photo by Julia Mourão Missagia:

With mental health and mental illnesses, it is very common to have more than one at any given time. This doesn’t mean one mental illness caused the other one, but that it might have triggered it, or that there is another reason they are linked.

This might have to do with an even that happened to you in your past. Someone with generalized anxiety disorder might have had a traumatic event that then caused PTSD and panic attacks, which both can be worsened if you already have GAD. This happens quite common.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders Vs Other Anxiety Disorders

It is important to educate yourself on the potential link and relation between generalized anxiety disorder, but also to keep in mind that they are not all the same thing. You can be someone who gets panic attacks, but that doesn’t mean you also have GAD.

Before continuing, here are some other anxiety disorders you may or may not have in addition to generalized anxiety disorder

  1. Panic disorder
  2. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  3. Social anxiety
  4. Phobias
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The main difference between GAD and most other anxiety disorders is that it causes generalized anxiety. This is when you are not triggered by a specific thing, like a memory or flashback with someone. Who has post-traumatic stress disorder, but instead just an overall feeling of worry and fear. This rarely goes away, and when it does, it can come back at any time.

Someone who has generalized anxiety disorder can be sitting alone at home, and one small thought leads to a massive panic attack in a matter of minutes. This also happens to someone with panic disorder.

However, someone with panic disorder usually needs a trigger, while someone with GAD can be doing anything or nothing before the anxiety sets in. This is what makes it so debilitating to many people.

Similarities With Other Anxiety Disorders

While any two anxiety disorders will have some similarities, the two that are most similar to GAD and its symptoms are social anxiety and panic disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. Take a look at how these might be similar or connected in some way

1. Panic Disorder – First of all, panic disorder can be very similar to GAD. This is because with generalized anxiety disorder, your worries and fears often rise up enough to give you a panic attack at any time. Panic disorder is when your anxiety is so severe that you get frequent panic attacks. Therefore, they can be connected, but you can have one or the other, or both simultaneously. They each need to be treated separately.

2. Social Anxiety – The next anxiety disorder that is sometimes similar to generalized anxiety disorder is social anxiety. When you have social anxiety, you are fine while on your own or with someone you feel comfortable with, but you feel the intense worry and fear when around other people. This can be in a crowded movie theater, standing in line at a retail store, or at a party. With GAD and social anxiety, you might have general worry that heightens when you get around people. It is possible you have both.

3. Signs and Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorders Sympton
Generalized Anxiety Disorders Sympton – Photo by David Garrison:

Let’s take a moment to look at the common signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder so you can figure out if this is what you have. It is really important that you take your mental health just as seriously as your physical health, so if you exhibit any of these symptoms, reach out for help and talk to your doctor about it.

Mental and Emotional Symptoms

The first set of symptoms for generalized anxiety disorder are the mental and emotional ones. These are the way you think, feel, and react to certain things. Aside from just being overly anxious and worried almost constantly, you may also notice that it accompanies mood changes. You may go through bouts of extreme panic just by thinking about one minor thing, which can easily turn into extreme irritability and downright anger.

You may also notice that you have trouble concentrating, especially when there is something that keeps worrying you. This is much more than just stress as it becomes debilitating and is very hard to control.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. Someone with GAD may also be easily startled and have a hard time coming back after being startled.

In addition, don’t forget about symptoms of other anxiety disorders and mental illnesses like

  1. Depression
  2. Certain phobias
  3. Panic disorder
  4. PTSD
  5. Social anxiety

Since there is often a strong link between them, having any mental illness could potentially be a sign that you also have generalized anxiety disorder.

Physical Symptoms

While a lot of the signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder have to do with your thoughts and feelings, this is definitely not the only thing that will happen. You can also experience physical symptoms, which are partly from the anxiety, and partly from the panic attack that may soon be starting.

Physical symptoms of GAD include tension or pain in your muscles, headaches, sweating, nausea and, or vomiting. Extreme fatigue, trembling or shaking, and urinating much more frequently than what is normal for you.

You may also get tunnel vision, which is when looking ahead you can only see a very small amount. It is an odd sensation you don’t recognize until it’s happening. It is also common to have bad insomnia when you have GAD, especially just before or during panic attacks.

Anticipate The Worst

You may be someone who always seems to anticipate the worst, where you have a hard time being positive and uplifting about new situations or meeting new people. Not only can this be a sign of social anxiety, but a sign of generalized anxiety disorder as well.

If you experience any of these symptoms much worse when you are on a stimulant, such as drinking alcohol or doing drugs, it is likely you have GAD. This can even happen when you have a lot of caffeine or sugar, which are also stimulants.

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Remember to talk to your doctor if you are showing any of these symptoms. It can be any combination of symptoms as well. Not everyone with GAD is going to experience every single one of them. But if you have found the worry or anxiety to be affecting your life in any way, it is time to reach out for help and get a solid diagnosis that you can figure out the next steps.

4. The Different Treatment Options

GAD Treatment Options
GAD Treatment Options – Photo by Kindel Media:

By now, you should have a good idea of what generalized anxiety disorder is and how to know when you are suffering from it. Remember that while it is undoubtedly a challenging thing to live with, you’re not alone! There is help out there in many forms, from therapy to natural remedies and lifestyle changes.

Here is a look at some of the treatment options available for GAD

Taking Medications

The first type of treatment that your doctor might recommend for generalized anxiety disorder is to take medications. While this is optional, it is something worth considering if you find that the side effects of your anxiety disorder are having a negative effect on your life. This is when you know it is time to look for more treatment options.

There are a few different types of medications you might be prescribed, starting with antidepressants. These not only help if you have both depression and GAD, but they can improve your mood and help to reduce your worry and fear. Some types of antidepressants you might recognize are Cymbalta, Lexapro, and Paxil, though there are others and generic brands of these as well.

Medications Frequently Orescribed

Benzodiazepines are another category of medications frequently prescribed to people who have GAD. These are a type of sedative, that help to calm you down and help reduce the severity of your panic attacks. They are most often prescribed to stop panic attacks, but some people need to take them on a routine basis. These include Ativan, Valium, and Xanax, which you probably recognize the name of.

If you drink alcohol regularly, now is a good time to cut back. Not only is it bad for anxiety in general, but you can’t drink and take any of these anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications.

For any anti-anxiety medication, you will start at the lowest dose, then gradually increase it. It is possible that your body and brain chemicals being adjusted to the lower doses, requiring a higher dose over time. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but it is something to be aware of.

Going to Therapy

The next option, and one of the most popular things people will go for with GAD, is to get therapy. This is true of all mental illnesses, from anxiety to depression. Talking to someone is crucial for living with generalized anxiety disorder. Like all forms of anxiety, there is no cure, but there are many ways to cope and reduce the panic attacks and more severe symptoms.

Therapy comes in many forms, depending on your preferences and the severity of your anxiety symptoms. You may simply want to talk to a counselor type therapist who listens to you and will provide some positive feedback. Then there are psychologists that delve a little deeper into your biggest issues, trying to find the cause of your GAD and figure out what your triggers are.

There is cognitive behavioral therapy to help you learn to live with anxiety, along with psychiatrists who are there to prescribe you anxiety medications or anti-depressants. We will talk a little more about therapy in the next section.

Turning to Natural Remedies

The last treatment option includes a combination of natural remedies and lifestyle changes. You are also going to learn more about the lifestyle changes you can make in a later section, but here is an overview of some of the more natural ways to help treat generalized anxiety disorder and reduce panic attacks

  • Cutting back on stimulants [alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, caffeine, and sugar]
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising on a regular basis
  • Making sure you get enough vitamins and minerals
  • Trying meditation
  • Learning deep breathing techniques
  • Focusing on other things
  • Writing in a journal
  • Having a good support system

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. It is important to make healthy lifestyle changes that are good for your mental health, even while they are also helping with your physical health at the same time.

5. Importance of Routine Therapy

GAD Therapy
Generalized Anxiety Disorders Therapy – Photo by SHVETS production:

Before we talk more about lifestyle changes you can make in order to help with your generalized anxiety disorder. Let’s talk a little more about therapy as a treatment option. When you see your primary physician about your anxiety symptoms. They will probably recommend seeing a mental health professional first thing. Even if they don’t prescribe medications, this should still be your first step.

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Why Therapy is Important

Let’s take a few moments to discuss the importance of therapy before moving onto the types of therapy that can be beneficial for this type of anxiety disorder. There are many reasons people see a therapist or psychologist when they have a mental illness. From actually wanting treatment, to wanting to discover where it came from. Therapists do more than just listen; they can analyze your thoughts and feelings and really come to the root problem.

With generalized anxiety disorder, it is unique because most likely it was something you were born with. If you have a close relative with GAD, like a parent or grandparent, you are genetically disposed to it. While other people get GAD later in life from other causes, there is often a strong genetic link.

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. So, if you have GAD, you might go to therapy not to find out why you have it, but more to figure out what to do about it.

They can provide so many different services including

  1. Informing you about medications
  2. Guiding you through cognitive behavioral therapy
  3. Giving you tips for dealing with it daily
  4. Helping you understand what your triggers might be
  5. Letting you vent your frustrations with your anxiety

Also remember that when you see a therapist, it doesn’t have to be just for the generalized anxiety disorder. They can also help you work through other issues, whether you have depression, extreme stress, work problems, or relationship difficulties. It is generally recommended to everyone, those who have anxiety and those who don’t.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

While there are different types of therapy for generalized anxiety disorder, the most common one is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a practice that helps you work on long-term control and recovery of your mental illness. CBT is recommended for something like generalized anxiety disorder because it is simply a matter of managing it and its symptoms.

With cognitive behavioral therapy, the therapist helps you change your mindset.  And learn how to re-focus your thoughts when you feel those anxious and worried feelings creep up. It is generally a long-term course of treatment, with a minimum of 12 weeks needed to learn the coping skills through CBT.

Other Forms of Therapy

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know. As mentioned, there are also some other types of therapy that your mental health professional might recommend to help you deal with GAD. This includes,

Exposure therapy – Exposure therapy is very closely related to cognitive behavioral therapy. It helps you learn how to control the fear you have and the fears that creep into your mind when you are feeling anxious.

Hypnotism – Your therapist may recommend hypnotism if you are showing signs of other anxiety disorders, particularly PTSD. This is usually not something you get genetically, but after going through an event. With hypnotism, you are exposed to the trauma.

Interpersonal therapy – This is more of a short-term therapy method that works on the personal affects that your GAD might have. Usually this is recommended if you are also suffering from clinical depression in addition to your anxiety disorder.

Acceptance and commitment – Lastly, there is acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT. In this type of therapy. You will learn to acknowledge your generalized anxiety disorder, then learn to accept it.

Now comes the time to learn about the more natural remedies for generalized anxiety disorder. Which include lifestyle changes and things you can do at home. Read here for detail Generalized Anxiety Disorders Lifestyle Changes

Generalized Anxiety Disorders You Need to Know</b>. It uses mindfulness quite a bit because you learn to be mindful of how you are feeling in the moment. But then you learn how change your thoughts and behaviors with those anxieties.

Stress is Nature’s Survival Mechanism

Surprises happen, and sometimes we have to do things we’re not sure about. Things like public speaking or sitting an exam. You can’t control the world around you, but you might need to push on through the unexpected and uncomfortable.

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