Are you often accused of being a worrywart? As being someone always worrying needlessly about every little thing? Or do you have an anxiety disorder? But how do you tell the difference between the two?
Usually anxiety relates to a specific cause—a fight with someone you love, a job interview or a social situation. When the situation passes or you resolve it, the anxiety eases. But if you have an anxiety disorder, you can worry all the time about everything from love to money to the health of loved ones. It is usually for no good reason and it fuels your anxiety.
Anxiety can occur daily without knowing why. It can negatively impact your day to day life making it difficult to do things such as caring for your family, you neglect your self-care and have trouble working. If this sounds like you, then you could have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?
Around 3% of Australians experience GAD in any one year and 6% will experience it in their lifetime. And it is more common in women than in men.
GAD is excessive, intense anxiety and worry about all sorts of things most of the time. It bears no relation to anything specific and you can worry about things as minor as doing the housework or being late for something. All for no reason. This can cause your worrying to be out of control and feeling that something bad will happen. In fact you always feel like something terrible is about to happen. And none of this is based on any sort of fact. Your anxiety is usually out of proportion compared to what you are worrying about and it can emotionally cripple you. This is a sign of GAD.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
The main symptom of GAD is worrying excessively and being overly anxious about all sorts of things for no apparent reason. The way you feel is out of proportion to the likelihood of something bad happening. This can happen more often than not for at least six months.
You will also have three or more of the following symptoms during the same time. This includes:
- Trouble sleeping
- Easily get tired or feel fatigued
- Muscle aches and tension
- Trouble concentrating or your mind goes blank
- Overly irritable or cranky
- Feeling like you are on edge or ongoing restlessness
- Blowing problems out of proportion
- Worrying excessively on a regular basis, usually daily.
For it to be GAD, your ongoing physical symptoms and anxiety needs to cause you distress in social, work and other life situations.
There are also several things that occur when you have GAD compared to other types of anxiety you can control or that goes away. If you have GAD, your worrying is:
- Ongoing for long periods of time.
- Distressing, noticeable and invades all parts of your life.
- Excessive and impacts your ability to work and be comfortable in social situations.
- Likely to also have physical symptoms, such as restlessness and sleeplessness, accompany it.
When your worrying and anxiety cause you to start avoid going places or situations, it is time to get help. See your doctor to rule out underlying physical causes. And if there are not any, your doctor will likely refer you to a mental health professional. Get help so you can start enjoying life again.
Causes and risk factors
No one knows the exact cause of GAD. But there are some things that can contribute to developing it:
- Stressful events.Environmental factors such as stressful events and trauma, such as losing someone you love, moving house, starting a new job or a divorce, can trigger GAD. And when you are overly stressed, it can make your anxiety worse. Also using or withdrawing from things like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine can trigger excessive worry and anxiety.
- In the family. There is some research that suggests GAD can run in families. This means that if family members have GAD then it is more likely you may develop it. But there have been no genes directly connected to anxiety. Families can pass GAD down through the generations through environmental and lifestyle factors. But just because it may run in your family, it does not mean you will develop GAD. People can develop GAD even if there is no family history of developing it
- Changes in brain chemistry. An imbalance in your brain’s chemistry, neurotransmitters, can cause anxiety and affect your moods.
Diagnosing Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Your excessive worrying and anxiety is unlikely to go away of you have GAD. In fact they may get worse over time, if you do not seek professional help. So it is important to get hep early before your symptoms get worse.
Talk to your doctor. They will evaluate you by asking questions about your medical history. You may also have a physical exam and tests to rule out any underlying physical causing your excessive worrying and anxiety.
A doctor will base their GAD diagnosis on how intense and for how long you have been experiencing symptoms. They will take into account whether your symptoms are affecting your daily life and whether you are avoiding different situations. You doctor will determine whether you have GAD or a specific anxiety disorder.
To receive a diagnosis of GAD, your symptoms must negatively affect you almost daily for six months or more.
12 Tips to Manage Generalised Anxiety Disorder
It is not always possible to prevent developing an anxiety disorder like GAD. But there are things you can do to control the symptoms:
- Live a healthy, active lifestyle. Establish a routine that keeps you physically active almost every day. Exercise has the power to reduce your stress, keep you healthy and make you feel better. Start exercising slowly if this is not something you regularly do. Gradually increase how often you exercise and the intensity.
- See a counsellor. It is important to see a counsellor after a traumatic event or when you notice your anxiety is worse than usual. It is a lot better to address your problems than ignoring them.
- Identify the triggers. Identify what actions or situations stress you out or send your anxiety into overdrive. Use the strategies you learn in counselling to readily deal with anxiety when it arises.
- Practice stress management. Use relaxation and stress management techniques such as meditation and yoga to relieve your anxiety.
- Avoid isolating yourself from the world. Stay connected to friends and family. Isolating yourself can intensify your worrying. Even join a support group for people dealing with excessive worry and anxiety.
- Write it out.Keep a journal and write out how you are feeling. It can help you feel better to get it out.
- Prioritise a regular sleep routine. It is important to establish a regular sleep routine so you start each day feeling rested. If you are having trouble sleeping, make sure you turn off all electronic devices before bedtime. Even have a warm bath with aromatherapy oils such as lavender added.
- Eat a healthy diet.Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes whole grains, vegetables, fish and fruit. Eating highly processed foods can increase anxiety.
- Avoid illicit drugs, alcohol and caffeine. All these substances can make your anxiety worse. If quitting is too difficult on your own, ask the advice of your doctor or seek out a support group.
- Understand your disorder. . Learn what may be causing GAD. Talk to your mental health provider about what worries you and for the best treatment. Ask family and friends for their support.
- Maintain your treatment plan. . Keep your counselling appointments and any exercises you counsellor suggests you do. It is important to be consistent to help lessen your symptoms.
- Check before taking other medications. Check with you doctor or counsellor before taking herbal remedies or over-the-counter medicines. Some may increase your anxiety.
These tips may give you substantial relief combined with your treatment plan. Your symptoms can come and go depending on how stressed you are feeling. And when your anxiety flares up, reach out to the people who support you.
Blissiree Pty Ltd
Suffering with GAD can make your life difficult. And it may turn into a nightmare when GAD is out of control. It can affect all parts of your life and relationships.
You may often wish you could just take everything in your stride like other people. But if your anxiety is out of control, you may need to seek help to break its hold. Until you do something to change the way you see yourself and the world, anxiety will continue to negatively impact your life.
The Blissiree Pty Ltd is pioneering a new technique. A natural treatment that may help you cope with the symptoms and triggers of anxiety. It only requires for you to relax. Highly trained facilitators help you learn to recognise the triggers and how to manage them to give you a new perspective. This may help you control your excessive worrying and anxious feelings. And you may notice an improvement after the first session.
If GAD affects your daily life, it is time to turn it around. Time to do something positive. Seek help. Take back control. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can start taking good care of your mental health. And get back to enjoying life.
If GAD is leaving you exhausted every day, reach out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us. We can talk to you about how to get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spa. Book in today for my special introductory offer of just $49 (private health rebates apply) so you may turn your life around. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges and the symptoms of GAD that negatively affects your life. Our facilitators may help you manage your anxiety better so you start enjoying life again.
Let me Help you Manage Generalised Anxiety Disorder
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people for more than a decade. My aim is to help you naturally deal with the symptoms of GAD better so you may live a more normal life. The aim is to give you a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years so you can start living life to the fullest.
Book a free 25-minute telehealth consultation with Blissiree Pty Ltd founder, Terri Bowman. Or discover a seamless way that may help you manage your emotional and mental health by becoming a member where you can access more than 100 audio programs that may help you to live an inspired life.
Check out my latest documentary—Blue Rain – PTSD The Silent Suffering. Follow the lives of four people as I work with them to improve their mental health. It will give you good insight into what it is possible.
What are you waiting for? Try us now. You have nothing to lose.