Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): The Clinical Perspective

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): The Clinical Perspective

“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” 
― Charles H. Spurgeon

24/7 anxiety about anything and everything…in technical terms this is known as “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” (Acronym: GAD). There are times when you would feel anxious about certain event like an examination, a presentation, a blind date or an interview etc. These are common situations in which almost everyone tends to shiver with fear or apprehension. But, GAD is something more profound. People with GAD get anxious about anything and everything. They worry a lot about health, money relations, illness, death, profession…..virtually everything that life beholds.

When you would come across such people you would understand that they are too much worrisome and tend to apprehend worse than the worst. Living life with GAD is not easy. It is challenging from the one suffering from it as well as his/her care-takers. What makes it difficult is the high anxiety level that interferes in the daily life living or functioning of the individual.

Often GAD is misdiagnosed and misunderstood as an Anxiety Disorder. Therefore, it is very important to know and comprehend GAD from the clinical perspective. Let us look into some of the clinical signs and symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Physical Symptoms:

•    Trembling
•    Tiredness or fatigue
•    Sleep disturbances (Insomnia)
•    Palpitations
•    Shortness of breathe
•    Numbness in hands and feet
•    Excessive sweating
•    Hot flushes , rashes and excessive perspiration
•    Body aches and muscle tension

Psychological Symptoms:

•    Excessive worry, irrational fear
•    Continuous negative apprehension about events and life situations
•    Restlessness
•    Agitation and fidgeting
•    Insomnia
•    Irritability
•    Difficulty in concentration
•    Mind going blank due to worry and tension

Surveys state that in a given year approximately 6.8 million American adults and 2 percent of European adults suffer from GAD. Not only this, gradually GAD is also spreading its ill-effects in many other parts of the globe. So, it is considered as one of the most prevalent mental health issue of the era. Do you know why and how GAD is caused? Well, there are several reasons for it. Some of them are:

•    Genetic predisposition or family history

•    Neurochemical disturbances in the brain

•    Excessive use of caffeine or dependence on caffeinated drinks

•    Long-term use of psycho-pharmacological drugs (especially benzodiazepines)

•    Situational factors like a job interview, prolonged sadness, stress and tension, etc

If you or someone related to you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, then you should immediately seek appropriate treatment. With regular and proper treatment GAD can be managed and rooted out up to a substantial level. Many treatment interventions are available for GAD treatment. Some of them are through use of medications, behavior therapy, commitment therapy, relaxation therapies and so on.

However, one of the best treatment interventions for GAD is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT treats your mind as well as your behaviour (physiological symptoms included). This is the reason why it is regarded as the most effective form of psychotherapy for CBT. It can be imparted by a Clinical Psychologist or a well-trained CBT Therapist. With the increase in popularity of Information Technology and given to the rush and commitments in everyone’s life…

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

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