Guest Post by Irving Schattner
Post Design and Edit by Christy Zigweid
Photo by blickpixel via Pixabay
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) involves excessive anxiety, worry, fear, or unease about events or activities. Its duration, intensity, or frequency is disproportionate to the actual likelihood or impact of the anticipated event. People suffering with generalized anxiety disorder experience difficulty controlling worrisome thoughts which interfere with managing tasks at hand. It is common for persons with this disorder to worry about daily, routine tasks and circumstances such as school, job or career responsibilities, health, finances, household chores, being late for appointments, or question or evaluate the competence of their performance in given situations. The focus of their worries or anxiety may shift from one concern to another. as it is common for such persons to complain about persistent thoughts of worry, anxiety, fear, distress or dread, which they feel incapable of shutting off.
Unlike normal worry, persons with generalized anxiety disorder find the excessive nature of their worries of everyday life significantly interfering with healthy, adaptive psychological, emotional and social functioning.
With generalized anxiety disorder, worries are more distressing and longer lasting. This excessive worry may appear to be without cause and be accompanied by physical symptoms such as feeling on edge, being easily fatigued, muscle tension, sleep disturbance, concentration difficulties or having one’s mind seemingly go blank, trembling, shakiness, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, and headaches.
Overcoming Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The good news is that generalized anxiety disorder is highly treatable! With the expertise of a mental health professional who specializes in treating anxiety disorders and utilizing an approach that’s based on proven interventions individually tailored to meet the needs of each client, you will be well on the path to recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. Studies have shown that the benefits of CBT may last longer than those of medication, but no single treatment is best for everyone. CBT examines the interconnection between one’s negative thought patterns, feelings and behaviors, and how they maintain, reinforce, and even intensify anxious thoughts and worry associated with generalized anxiety. Learning to replace negative thoughts and beliefs with more realistic, supportive, adaptive thoughts and feelings leads to less generalized worry and anxiety, which translates into increased behavioral mastery and competence in those same or similar situations.
Mindfulness and applied relaxation are other effective treatments which work by focusing one’s awareness of the present moment (vs. future events) by acknowledging and accepting feelings (whether positive or negatively charged) and deactivating bodily sensations. Being mindful makes one aware of what one is feeling and experiencing in the moment while remaining in a calm, accepting state. Applied relaxation focuses on muscle relaxation and visual cues to maintain that state of calm and acceptance. Yoga and other meditative techniques have proven highly effective in reducing or deactivating the “anticipatory anxiety” normally associated with generalized anxiety disorder.
About the Author - Irving Schattner, LCSW
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