Home » GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
GAD is much more intense than normal anxiety levels which make be experienced day to day. GAD is overwhelming and can dominate one's day with inappropriate and exaggerated worries and tension, even even when there is nothing present to worry about.
Having GAD means that the sufferer is always anticipating a negative outcome to everything they confront, sufferers often worry inappropriately about health, finances, relationships or their career.
The normal reaction to anxiety is to retreat or withdraw from 'normal' activities, this reinforces to the anxious mind that it is OK for our anxiety to dictate to us and for us to modify our enjoyment of life to accommodate it... this is not acceptable.
GAD is an anxiety disorder because, as already stated, without an underlying anxiety disorder, GAD cannot be present.
GAD sufferers have inappropriate and sometimes scary disturbing thoughts, sometimes violent or sexual in nature - these may sometimes involve people with whom they would never partake in such acts, even members of their own family. On occasion, simply the thought of getting through the day provokes anxiety as soon as the sufferer wakes.
Because adrenaline levels are artificially raised through stressors, which ultimately leads to a resetting of our baseline anxiety level, we can experience general or generalized anxiety.
This means that the body is functioning at a much higher level of anxiety, causing a whole list of anxious feelings, emotions and sensations.
GAD sufferers seem unable to eliminate or ignore their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants.
The anxiety they experience is usually accompanied by physical anxiety symptoms such as headaches, tension, tiredness, aching muscles, difficulty swallowing, shaking, twitches, mood swings, sweats, and hot and cold flushes.
GAD sufferers may often feel light-headed or out of breath. They may also feel nauseated or have to go to the bathroom frequently. Generalized anxiety is constant and can cause anxiety / panic attacks during the day and night. Night time anxiety and panic attacks are especially disturbing and can often wake the sufferer from deep sleep feeling particularly frightened. Night time anxiety can be minimized with some practical steps which minimize the impact of such things as blood sugar level fluctuations during sleep.
Individuals with GAD seem unable to relax, and they may startle more easily than other people. They tend to have difficulty concentrating and often, they have trouble falling or staying asleep.
The sort of symptoms you can experience in generalized anxiety are generally milder than those experienced during an anxiety / panic attack. Although distressing, they are usually much less extreme but may include some of the symptoms outlined on our anxiety symptoms list.
Your stomach may churn, your heart races or beats slower or you may get palpitations you may also feel sweaty or clammy, dizzy or shaky and general unrest.
You may just feel as if you have the Flu with shaky or weak legs and clamminess. You might get disturbing thoughts or feel depressed, this is perfectly normal and will pass, it is purely a response to anxiety and must not be mistaken for depression. Remember, these thoughts and feelings are harmless but unpleasant none the less.
This doesn't mean you should rush to your doctor to get anxiety medication - in fact, quite the contrary!
Anxiety is often misdiagnosed as depression by physicians, who's 'knee jerk' reaction is to reach for the prescription pad, not only is this premature but wholly inappropriate treatment for an anxiety condition. Anxiety isn't caused by a mental or physical illness and certainly not by a chemical imbalance which requires medicinal 'correction'... anxiety disorder is a behavioral condition and can not be eliminated by adding chemicals to the blood stream. Read more about anxiety medication.
GAD affects about 4 million adult Americans and about twice as many women as men. Anxiety disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life-cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. It is typically diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worrying excessively about a number of everyday problems.
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