Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Unlike a phobia , where your fear is connected to a specific thing or situation, the anxiety of generalized anxiety disorder is diffuse—a general feeling of dread or unease that colors your whole life. This anxiety is less intense than a panic attack, but much longer lasting, making normal life difficult and relaxation impossible. If you have GAD you may worry about the same things that other people do: health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. But you take these worries to a new level.

A co-worker’s careless comment about the economy becomes a vision of an imminent pink slip; a phone call to a friend that isn’t immediately returned becomes anxiety that the relationship is in trouble. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. You go about your activities filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke them. Whether you realize that your anxiety is more intense than the situations calls for or believe that your worrying protects you in some way, the end result is the same. You can’t turn off your anxious thoughts. They keep running through your head, on endless repeat.

The difference between “normal worry” and GAD

Worries, doubts, and fears are a normal part of life. It’s natural to be anxious about your upcoming SAT test or to worry about your finances after being hit by unexpected bills.

The difference between “normal” worrying and generalized anxiety disorder is that the worrying involved in GAD is

  • excessive
  • intrusive
  • persistent
  • debilitating
“Normal” worry vs. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
“Normal” Worry Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Your worrying doesn’t get in the way of your daily activities and responsibilities. Your worrying significantly disrupts your job, activities, or social life.
You’re able to control your worrying. Your worrying is uncontrollable.
Your worries, while unpleasant, don’t cause significant distress Your worries are extremely upsetting and stressful.
Your worries are limited to a specific, small number of realistic concerns. You worry about all sorts of things, and tend to expect the worst.
Your bouts of worrying last for only a short time period. You’ve been worrying almost every day for at least six months.

Signs and Symptoms

Not everyone with generalized anxiety disorder has the same symptoms. But most people with GAD experience a combination of a number of the following emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms

Emotional symptoms

  • Constant worries running through your head
  • Feeling like your anxiety is uncontrollable; there is nothing you can do to stop the worrying
  • Intrusive thoughts about things that make you anxious; you try to avoid thinking about them, but you can’t
  • An inability to tolerate uncertainty; you need to know what’s going to happen in the future
  • A pervasive feeling of apprehension or dread
  • Quiet time, or be by yourself
  • Difficulty concentrating
Behavioral Symptoms
  • Inability to relax, enjoy or focusing on things
  • Putting things off because you feel overwhelmed
  • Avoiding situations that make you anxious
Physical Symptoms
  • Feeling tense; having muscle tightness or body aches
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because your mind won’t qui
  • Feeling edgy, restless, or jumpy
  • Stomach problems, nausea, diarrhea

Support Group

  • Raeburn House : 09) 441 8989

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