Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is not just “butterflies in the stomach” but a serious disorder characterized by extreme worry — and about more than one thing. A person with GAD would have persistent thoughts such as “What if my husband gets hit by a car on his way to the store?” or “What if I get sick and can’t take care of my family?” These thoughts might cross anyone’s mind, but a GAD sufferer is not able to “shake them off” as others can.
They are fixated on the feelings of worry and dread. For these individuals normal anxiety has escalated into a serious problem that needs treatment.
Anxiety disorders affect every aspect of the sufferers’ lives — their activities, their decisions, their health, their businesses or jobs, the thoughts and their family life. When these people are in a stressful situation their anxieties become acute and erupt into symptoms.
Constant worrying, uneasiness, restlessness, a sense of dread, always “keyed-up”, fret about health when there are no apparent problems. When faced with a stressful situation, irrational fear. Forgetful or confused. Negative interpretation of other peoples action, feel unsafe.
- clenching teeth or jaw
- tightened muscles
- holding one’s breath
- sleeping problems
- racing heart beat
- breathing difficulties
- chest pain
- low self-esteem
- “numb” emotions
- explosive emotions
- feeling guilty
An Anxiety Disorder can be brought on by a major life trauma, such as being a witness to or a victim of a crime, physical or sexual abuse, a major illness, or a life threatening experience. Sometimes financial difficulties, grief from a death in one’s family or a divorce can trigger anxiety symptoms. These type of “life stressors” are inevitable in life. But for many people, they are the root cause of their anxiety disorders.
Often it is a combination of these stressors that are just too much for some people to handle. Just think how overwhelming it would be to have more than one of these major stresses happen in a short period of time — the death of a loved one, losing your job and finding out you have a serious illness.
In addition to external stressors, there are internal forces at work that sabotage our sense of peace and well-being. The number one culprit here is negative self image. When a person is highly self-critical and doesn’t allow themselves to be simply “a human being being human” it can spell trouble in terms of emotional health. This is tantamount to holding yourself hostage — without a ransom demand — because you don’t deserve to be rescued! Obviously, these types of destructive self-thoughts are a vicious cycle of misery that need to be treated by a professional counselor.
Fortunately, there are many avenues of successful treatment for the full spectrum of anxiety disorders. Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy are very helpful treatment methods.For some people sessions of psychotherapy can help a person understand the root causes of their disorder.Relaxation methods such as meditation, breathing techniques and visualization can help relieve symptoms.
Anti-anxiety drugs can bring relief of anxiety symptoms.