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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD, conventionally known as ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder’ affects a measured 3 million people in the U.S alone each year. Women are conclusively more likely to suffer from this form of mental illness than men. GAD is often accompanied by other co-occurring mental illnesses such as other anxiety disorders, depression, and/or substance abuse, making it highly unlikely to just occur alone. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by persistence, uncontrollable excessive worries (usually irrational) that interfere with daily life, activities, or events. Anticipating and worrying is often largely focused on concerns about money, health, family, work, disasters (anticipated), friendships, relationships; basically everyday matters. Being very common, there are wide ranges of treatment/treatment options available to those affected to alleviate symptoms and make living with GAD tolerable.

At this point in time you may be thinking about some commonly asked questions. What are the signs and symptoms of GAD? What causes GAD? How do I know if I have GAD? When is the proper time to seek help and treatment? Well lucky for you, as a sufferer myself and the help of the internet, I can answer all of your questions.

Individuals affected may experience a wide range of symptom(s) which are listed here below:

  • Tiredness & fatigue

  • Fidgeting & trembling

  • Headaches

  • Numbness (most likely in hands & feet)

  • Muscle tension

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Digestive issues (upset stomach, vomit, diarrhea)

  • Difficultly breathing & concentrating

  • Irritability & restlessness & on edge

  • Sweating & hot flashes

  • Rashes

  • Insomnia & other sleep disturbances

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Feeling faint or dizzy

  • Inability to control the anxiety

What causes GAD? GAD tends to come on gradually, making those in childhood and middle age the highest at risk. The exact cause is actually still being studied. However, what we do know with evidence provided is that biological factors, chemical imbalances, family background, genetics, substance induced, & life experiences definitely play a role.

The best way to determine if you are suffering from GAD is to get properly diagnosed by a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc. They will use a test called the DSM-5 Criteria & the ICD-10 Criteria to properly and correctly diagnose you.

Do you feel as though your anxiety and thoughts are controlling every aspect of you living your life? If so, it is time to seek help. Treatment comes in various forms. Whether it is seeing a therapist to work on coping skills/activities using CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or seeing a psychiatrist and having the option of being medicated.

Personally, my story may or may not be different than yours. I’ve had anxiety and GAD since I was 11 years old making that a total of 10 years living with this mental illness. It took many trial and errors for me from therapy to medication. I am definitely still dealing with my GAD on a regular basis but since I got help, it has bettered my situation.

If you or someone you know thinks you may be suffering from GAD I suggest talking to a healthcare professional, family, or friends to get the proper treatment for your needs. You aren’t alone and you don’t need to suffer alone. Things will get better in time!

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