It’s normal to feel worried about certain situations, especially if they can negatively impact your future. For instance, having a family member in the hospital can be especially stressful if the bills keep piling up. The mortgage needs to be paid, the children’s needs have to be met, and the fridge is near empty. All the aforementioned scenarios are legitimate worries.
Yet, what if someone worries about something that hasn’t happened yet? What if someone is constantly worried about something they think might happen? Not just for a couple of hours, but weeks or months on end?
This amount of worry for such an extended period would take a toll on someone’s health. Of course, it would be smart to seek advice and/or help on how to manage such anxiety. This is what is normally termed as a generalized anxiety disorder or GAD.
Perhaps you suspect that you might be struggling with the condition. Maybe you’re worried that a family member might be struggling with it. What do you do?
Looking for information that can help you understand it is a step in the right direction. This is the reason for this post: to give you the necessary information about the disorder and hopefully, equip you with ways on how to handle it.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Individuals with the condition constantly and uncontrollably worry about a situation or occurrence several times in a day. The worrying can extend past a couple of months. This can even happen when there is absolutely no reason to be stressed or worried about.
They tend to anticipate or expect bad occurrences and constantly stress over their health, family, money and jobs. Of course, this can interfere with the thought process of the affected individual. In turn, it also affects their daily routines such as sleep, work and even relationships.
This disorder is classified as a mental health disorder and is characterized by constant anxiety or feelings of dread. If the anxiety stretches for months and interferes with life, it’s time to seek professional help.
Is The Condition Known By Another Name?
Yes, this condition is also referred to or known as chronic anxiety neurosis. If you ever hear a doctor or therapist use that term, they are referring to generalized anxiety disorder.
Am I Struggling With The Disorder?
If you exhibit at least three or more of the below-mentioned symptoms, the next step would be to get a diagnosis. The signs and symptoms of chronic anxiety neurosis include:
- Constantly worrying about several things without any cause. Most of the time, your worry is out of proportion and uncontrollable
- Viewing events or situations as dangerous or threatening even when they are not
- Dread or fear that you might make the wrong decision
- Unable to remain calm
- Feeling restless
- Feelings of nervousness
- Gets startled easily
- Feeling constantly fatigued and exhausted
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle tension
- Constant headaches/ stomach aches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Experiencing difficulties handling tense situations
- Overthinking worst-case scenarios
- Feeling lightheaded
- Sweating excessively
Is There A Connection Between GAD and Addiction?
Yes, there is a connection between the behavioral condition and addiction. For most living with the disorder, alcohol helps them calm their nerves and finally relax. This is because alcohol acts as a depressant.
Regardless of its ability to relax the user, there’s a risk that it can lead to overconsumption. Long term alcohol use can lead to addiction and dependency. This makes it difficult for someone who’d like to quit due to how painful and/or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can be.
Drug use can also induce the development of generalized anxiety disorder. This is true if an individual develops a dependence on drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. These types of drugs tend to heighten the user’s mood and increase feelings of euphoria. Hence, the minute the user is cut off, they experience high anxiety levels.
What Are The Triggers?
Knowing the triggers that can encourage the onset of related symptoms is important. This way, you’re able to avoid them or at least learn how to manage them if they do occur. The triggers include:
- Post-traumatic events
- Health issues: When you or a loved one gets diagnosed with a serious condition, anxiety can be easily triggered.
- Caffeine: Research has shown that caffeine can be triggering, especially to those already suffering from anxiety. This includes those with a social anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
- Medications: Certain medications have ingredients that can trigger the symptoms of this disorder. Medications such as birth control pills and medications for weight loss are culprits.
- Skipping meals: When you skip meals, you risk experiencing low blood sugar. This alone can trigger anxiety and lead to jittery or trembling hands.
- Financial problems
- Negative thinking: How we think and what we allow ourselves to think is important. Thoughts are powerful and if you choose to go down a dark path, you can easily trigger the disorder.
- Social events: Being in a party or event where you hardly know anyone can be triggering.
- Public events or public speaking: Anything that involves doing something in public can be triggering to certain individuals. If you are one of them, you can try and avoid them. However, if you can’t, then learn how to manage your worry to improve your performance.
Can One Manage The Triggers?
It is possible to avoid and even manage the above triggers. For instance, when it comes to caffeine, you can simply avoid consuming it. If you have to go to a social event, then go with a friend to keep you company.
Other ways to manage the triggers include:
- Exercise at least three times a week
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Practice meditation
- Music therapy has been known to be beneficial
Can The Disorder Be Treated?
It is completely possible to treat the disorder and lead a fulfilling and successful life. Below are the methods used for treatment:
- Psychological Therapies such as Group Therapy, Family Therapy and Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
- Anti-anxiety medications are often administered as well