What is: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. Any information provided is a product of research and/or personal experience. Please consult a physician or mental health professional for further information, resources, or assistance.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a mood disorder characterized by a variety of different anxiety-related symptoms. GAD differs from day-to-day anxiety because it is a long-term disorder, usually diagnosed after anxiety has been occurring daily for over six months. Like other mental health disorders, it creates a disruption in a person’s life. GAD has been reported to impact women almost twice as much as men.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder can include:

  • Uncontrollable anxiety
  • Excessive worrying, nervousness, irritability
  • Intrusive, persistent, or disruptive thoughts
  • Feeling “on edge” or chronically apprehensive
  • Difficulty relaxing or concentrating
  • Patterns of avoidance or procrastination
  • General feelings of dread or a sense of danger
  • The need to control all decisions or avoiding all decision making

Generalized Anxiety Disorder can also physically impact those that suffer from it and might include symptoms such as:

  • Increased heart rate or breathing
  • Feeling weak
  • Exhaustion and fatigue (likely due to difficulty sleeping, staying asleep, or restlessness)
  • GI issues (i.e. nausea or diarrhea)
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Muscle tension
  • Chronic pain

Finding the right solution to combat GAD is a very personal process, but some suggestions include:

  • Learn and avoid your triggers (situations, people, etc.)
  • Build your support system
  • Practice deep breathing, meditation, walking, yoga, or other calming activities
  • Improve your sleep hygiene
  • Journal for stress-relief and to notice patterns
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine
  • Meet with a therapist regularly
  • Be open to trying medication

Above all else, meet with your physician to determine your best course of action, including finding new resources and more information about Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Have you been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
How does Generalized Anxiety Disorder impact your life?
What coping mechanisms have helped you manage your mental health?

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