Everyone suffers from stress, but for the millions of people living with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), stress is not just a temporary struggle. People living with GAD become so worried and overcome with anxiety by life’s issues that it can take over their existence. It is important for society to realize that GAD is a real, diagnosable and treatable medical condition. If you know someone suffering from GAD, it is important to be supportive of their efforts to live a fulfilling life with anxiety.
Signs and Symptoms of GAD
Some suffers of GAD have been worried for so long, that they may delay seeking help for their problem. Since anxiety is all that the person knows, they may not realize that they actually have a condition. Many anxiety sufferers may believe that everyone is as anxious as they are. Distinguishing the difference between random and temporary anxiety and chronic, permanent anxiety is very important. If you have been suffering from any of the following symptoms for six months or longer, it is time to seek help from a therapist or psychologist.
Symptoms of GAD:
-Obsessing about both large and small problems on a daily basis
-Replaying exaggerated scenarios in your head about how a situation may or may not turn out
– Brain fog or trouble staying focused because you are consumed by worry
-Worrying to the point where you become nauseous or sweat soaked
-Feeling constantly on edge or never being able to fully relax
Who Gets GAD?
Since the primary cause of GAD is still unknown, anyone can develop GAD from young children to older adults. However, some people are more likely to become effected by GAD than others. For reasons unknown, more women than men are affected by this illness. People suffering from chronic pain are also more likely to develop anxiety disorders. People already diagnosed with other mental illnesses such as depression are also at an increased risk to develop GAD. Trauma such as a rape or car accident can also trigger GAD.
There is Hope
If you are suffering from GAD, you do not have to give in to this disease. Many treatments are available. Anti-depressants such as Paxil, Effexor and Cymbalta can help to keep your symptoms in check. Medications such as valium can also be used to control extreme anxiety attacks or to help with sleep. In addition to medication, lifestyle changes such as eating better and exercising more can help to reduce your anxiety and stress levels.
Since GAD can affect some people for life, it is important to live a life that is appropriate for someone with GAD. Although life can never be stress free, you should make life choices that promote low stress. Avoid choosing an extremely high stress career such as being an ER doctor or working with high risk stocks. When planning a vacation, choose tourist activists that are leisurely such as sight seeing as opposed to high stress options like jet skiing. Since everyone is different, learn what your stress triggers are and make the choices that work for you.
Find ways to deal with difficult situations. Although some things in life can be altered to accommodate high anxiety, there will be some situations that you must face no matter what. If time management makes your GAD sky rocket out of control, make a family schedule to keep track of everyone’s activities, work obligations and doctor appointments. If money makes you feel anxious, plan a careful budget and keep your money in low risk investments such as a money market.
Remember that You are Not Alone
Remember that millions of people suffer from GAD. Even though some people may be afraid to talk about it in public, there are plenty of support groups available both in-person and online.
Mayo Clinic: Generalized Anxiety Disorder http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/generalized-anxiety-disorder/DS00502
National Institute of Mental Health Conditions: Gad http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad.shtml