Treatment For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If youve given self-help a fair shot, but still cant seem to shake your worries and fears, it may be time to see a mental health professional. But remember that professional treatment doesnt replace self-help. In order to control your GAD symptoms, youll still want to make lifestyle changes and look at the ways you think about worrying
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one type of therapy that is particularly helpful in the treatment of GAD. CBT examines distortions in our ways of looking at the world and ourselves. Your therapist will help you identify automatic negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety. For example, if you catastrophizealways imagining the worst possible outcome in any given situationyou might challenge this tendency through questions such as, What is the likelihood that this worst-case scenario will actually come true? and What are some positive outcomes that are more likely to happen?.
The five components of CBT for anxiety are:
Education. CBT involves learning about generalized anxiety disorder. It also teaches you how to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful worry. An increased understanding of your anxiety encourages a more accepting and proactive response to it.
Monitoring. You learn to monitor your anxiety, including what triggers it, the specific things you worry about, and the severity and length of a particular episode. This helps you get perspective, as well as track your progress.
Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
- Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
- Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.
What Does Gad Feel Like In The Body
Although the main symptom of GAD is worry, most people first notice the discomfort they feel in their bodies, rather than the worrisome thoughts. In fact, many people with GAD will visit their family doctors because of their physical discomfort, and they often will not even mention that they worry excessively.
Some of the physical feelings that worry can lead to are:
- Physical feelings of anxiety
- Feeling fidgety, restless or unable to sit still
- Feeling irritable, getting easily upset, snapping at people for minor reasons
- Sleep problems: this can include having a hard time falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or having a restless and unsatisfying sleep
- Difficulty paying attention or concentrating
- Being easily fatigued
- Muscle pains
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When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For An Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can resemble symptoms of a heart attack or another health emergency. If youre experiencing an anxiety attack for the first time, or youre concerned in any way about your health, call 911 or head to the nearest ER. A healthcare provider will check you for serious or life-threatening conditions.
If youre having an anxiety attack and unsure whether you should head to an ER or not, its better to go. Healthcare professionals can make sure youre OK and give you any necessary treatment.
What Is A Panic Disorder
If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.
The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread. Panic attacks can resemble heart attacks. If theres any chance youre experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Its better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional check you.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Chest pain.
- Feeling of choking, which can make you think youre having a heart attack or going crazy.
Panic attacks are very upsetting. People with panic disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
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How To Know If You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder
There is a lot to worry about during a day: paying bills, getting work done and turned in on time, health of loved ones. Sometimes, you even worry about how much you worry.
It can be difficult to know how much worry is too much. All people worry, and some amount of worry is related to improved levels of mental focus and physical performance.
That means some nervousness is good, but too much worry leads to unwanted consequences. It reduces the quality of life as more of your energy is devoted to worrying.
How much is too much? Where is the line?
When levels of worry begin to cross the line into anxiety, it is important to know what you are up against because there are many types of anxiety disorders. Each one has its own set of symptoms and criteria as set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , a book published by the American Psychiatric Association.
When Anxiety Disrupts Your Life It’s A Problem
One of the most common questions people with anxiety ask themselves is “what is the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder?” It’s true that not all problem anxiety qualifies as an anxiety disorder.
However, the answer isn’t always that simple. The reality is that if you feel as though your anxiety is causing a problem in your life, it may be beneficial to seek help. Some anxiety in life is normal, but anxiety that disrupts your quality of life is still a problem.
No matter what type of anxiety you’re dealing with, anxiety can be cured by the following strategies:
- Find out your specific type of anxiety.
- Accept that your anxiety is a problem.
- Understand your anxiety causes and triggers.
- Break them down into smaller pieces that you can manage.
- Change your lifestyle to be more anxiety free.
Below, we’ll examine the seven causes of anxiety.
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Where To Find An Ocd Specialist:
- NOCD: Our staff is clinically trained to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder by using the gold standard in OCD treatment: ERP. A 15 minute phone call with our staff can explain to you the benefits and the amazing results weve seen as a result of ERP therapy.
- International OCD Foundation: The IOCDF is a great resource if you are looking for help in your area. The website offers a resource directory that you can search based on your city, state or treatment interest . Their directory includes providers who have been trained by the IOCDF in the specialized treatment of OCD.
- Psychology Today: Well-known as a source for finding a therapist, this might be a good place to find a provider for OCD. The Find a Therapist feature is highly customizable, so you will have better luck finding a therapist who is the right fit.
If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, you can schedule a free call today with the NOCD clinical team to learn more about how a licensed therapist can help. At NOCD, all therapists specialize in OCD and receive ERP-specific training. ERP is most effective when the therapist conducting the treatment has experience with OCD and training in ERP.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have an anxiety disorder, ask your provider:
- Whats the best treatment for me?
- Do I need medication? What type?
- How long should I take medication?
- What type of psychotherapy will work best?
- What else can I do to manage my symptoms?
- What other conditions am I at risk for?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An anxiety disorder can make it difficult to get through your day. Anxiety disorder symptoms include feelings of nervousness, panic and fear. You may also have physical symptoms such as sweating and a rapid heartbeat. But you dont need to live like this. Several effective anxiety disorder treatments are available. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out your diagnosis and the best treatment plan. Often, treatment combines medications and therapy. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, together with CBT, can help you feel your best.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
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Gad Symptoms In Children
In children, excessive worrying centers on future events, past behaviors, social acceptance, family matters, personal abilities, and school performance. Unlike adults with GAD, children and teens often dont realize that their anxiety is disproportionate to the situation, so adults need to recognize their symptoms. Along with many of the symptoms that appear in adults, some red flags for GAD in children are:
- What if fears about situations far in the future
- Perfectionism, excessive self-criticism, and fear of making mistakes
- Feeling that theyre to blame for any disaster, and their worry will keep tragedy from occurring
- The conviction that misfortune is contagious and will happen to them
- Need for frequent reassurance and approval
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Self
Support from other people is vital to overcoming GAD. Social interaction with someone who cares about you is the most effective way to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety, so its important to find someone you can connect with face to face on a regular basisyour significant other, a family member, or a friend, perhaps. This person should be someone you can talk to for an uninterrupted period of time, someone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distracted by the phone or other people.
Build a strong support system. Human beings are social creatures. Were not meant to live in isolation. But a strong support system doesnt necessarily mean a vast network of friends. Dont underestimate the benefit of a few people you can trust and count on to be there for you.
Talk it out when your worries start spiraling. If you start to feel overwhelmed with anxiety, meet with a trusted family member or friend. Just talking face to face about your worries can make them seem less threatening.
Know who to avoid when youre feeling anxious. Your anxious take on life may be something you learned when you were growing up. If your mother is a chronic worrier, she is not the best person to call when youre feeling anxiousno matter how close you are. When considering who to turn to, ask yourself whether you tend to feel better or worse after talking to that person about a problem.
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What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Gad
Experts donât know the exact causes of generalized anxiety disorder. Several things — including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stresses — appear to contribute to its development.
- Genetics. Some research suggests that family history plays a part in making it more likely that a person will have GAD. This means that the tendency to develop GAD may be passed on in families. But no anxiety genes have been identified, and families may also pass down the tendency through lifestyle or environment.
- Brain chemistry. This is complex. GAD has been linked to problems with certain nerve cell pathways that connect particular brain regions involved in thinking and emotion. These nerve cell connections depend on chemicals called neurotransmitters that send information from one nerve cell to the next. If the pathways that connect particular brain regions donât work well, problems related to mood or anxiety may result. Medicines, psychotherapies, or other treatments that are thought to work on these neurotransmitters may improve the signaling between circuits and help to improve symptoms related to anxiety or depression.
- Environmental factors. Trauma and stressful events such as abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, and changing jobs or schools may contribute to GAD. The condition can also worsen when stress feels out of hand. The use of and withdrawal from addictive substances can also worsen anxiety.
How To Prevent Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Though its tough to predict what causes generalized anxiety disorder, consider taking these steps to keep the situation from worsening:
- Seek help as early as possible as symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder may become more pronounced over time.
- Prioritize your life. You might significantly decrease anxiety by managing your time and energy a bit more carefully.
- Keep a journal to try and identify the causes of your stress and what alleviates your symptoms.
- Do not engage in substance abuse as drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes all have a detrimental effect on anxiety.
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Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented
You cant prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:
- Check out medications: Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies. Some of these contain chemicals that may make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Limit caffeine: Stop or limit how much caffeine you consume, including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Seek help: Get counseling and support if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. Doing so can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
Gad Or Ocd: How Do I Know
Both OCD and GAD are long-lasting, and both involve excessive anxiety, rumination and intrusive thoughts. It can be difficult to figure out which you might be experiencing. While it is possible for people who have been diagnosed with OCD to also have GAD, lets check out the key differences in symptoms:
- Worry over more than one realistic negative outcome
- Multiple areas of focus, life areas or activities
- Accompanied by at least three physical symptoms
As you can see from above, the presence of obsessions and compulsions are a key distinction of OCD. Repetitive or ritualized behavior is notpresent in GAD or other anxiety-related conditions. Other key distinctions are that anxiety that is due to GAD is accompanied by physical symptoms, whereas physical symptoms are not often reported in those who experience OCD alone.
The primary feature of OCD is the presence of obsessions and compulsions , so if you identify with these descriptions even if you have been diagnosed with GAD it is possible that you have OCD.
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