If you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, you are not alone!
Suffering from generalized anxiety disorder affects over 40 million Americans and is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder.
Seek professional attention and know that there is a way to get help and treatment.
Signs of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Here come those feelings again… Worrying over tasks piling up, how to get that to-do list finished, what to cook for dinner, how to make that travel arrangement, and bills! Do you get easily upset even before a real problem arises? Is it hard to shut off your brain at night…to the point of not being able to sleep?
It’s normal for us to feel this way once in a while, but when a general anxiety blankets your capability to perform daily life functions, it could mean you have general anxiety disorder. With this disorder, oftentimes there is an anxiety about just getting through the day, and those issues that make you anxious can be blown out of proportion in your mind. They usually are more menial than they appear, but one assumes things will always turn out badly, rather than the potential for things to turn out fine.
Causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
General anxiety disorder can run in families, but it also can simply appear without having run in the family. There are several parts of the brain involved in feelings of fear and anxiety, and therefore there is no single reason for this. Some factors include an imbalance of chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Some health conditions contribute to anxiety as well. These include Gastroesophageal research disease, heart disease, menopause, and thyroid disorders. Because GAD is a complex mental condition, it is hard to explain the exact reasons for its onset. Research is ongoing as it is looking for better treatment options and environmental factors.
Symptoms of GAD
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Startle Easily
- Tense Muscles
Risk Factors of GAD
- Being Female – Two times as many women than men have this disorder
- Childhood Trauma – A traumatic childhood event can trigger the early onset of anxiety
- Illness – Chronic health conditions, or things as serious as cancer and financial issues can lead to this
- Stress – A big even or many stressful situations can lead to this disorder
- Substance Abuse – Abusing alcohol and drugs can contribute to increased anxiety
Treatment Options For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Treatment options can include medication as well as a host of other things. Medication such as antidepressants helps influence the neurotransmitters in our brain that contribute to anxiety.
Psychotherapy, also referred to as talk therapy, or counseling, focuses on ironing out underlying issues and life stresses, concerns, and how to better cope with them. Cognitive behavioral therapy is another effective option, and is a short term treatment to help you recognize negative thought processes before they happen and replace them with positive ones, to help retrain your thinking.
Exercise is one of the most steadfast and successful methods for treating anxiety! It has been touted as one of the “best medicines” for anxiety (and depression). It is a powerful stress reducer and has enormous health benefits.
Exercise Health Benefits For Treating Anxiety
- Elevates and Stabilizes Mood
- Improves Alertness
- Improves Concentration and Overall Cognitive Function
- Improves Self Esteem
- Increases Endorphins – Natural Painkillers
- Reduces Fatigue
Psychologists who studied the relationship of exercise to anxiety disorders found that even just a 10 minute walk can be just as good as a 45 minute workout. Just 10 minutes of activity can have several hours of relief. Another study showed that those who vigorously exercise regularly were 25% less likely to get anxiety or depression over the next 5 years.
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