If you’ve been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in the past, you’re not alone. GAD affects nearly 6.8 million adults in the U.S. today, making it a common mental health disorder to experience. Despite such a large number of Americans being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, only 43.2% are estimated to be receiving treatment for it. The symptoms of GAD can be managed with treatment and should be addressed by a qualified mental health professional to improve your quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about generalized anxiety disorder and what treatments work best for those with it.
What exactly is generalized anxiety disorder?
If you’re unfamiliar with generalized anxiety disorder, it’s one of several anxiety disorders. The other types of anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder and phobias. General anxiety disorder is characterized by chronic and excessive worry that interferes with a person’s ability to perform routine, everyday activities. The worry can be focused on many different topics but is most commonly focused on everyday tasks that need to be carried out. This excessive worry can manifest physically, causing a variety of symptoms like fatigue and muscle tension. Both excessive worry and physical symptoms can play a role in interrupting a person’s ability to perform daily functions.
What causes generalized anxiety disorder?
The exact cause of generalized anxiety disorder isn’t well known. However, research suggests that GAD can be linked to a variety of factors that may play a role all at once. Some of these factors include genetics, traumatic experiences, stress and brain chemistry. The factors are typically a mix of a person’s biology and environment.
What are the symptoms of GAD?
There are a variety of symptoms that someone with GAD might experience. These include:
- Worry about unknown situations.
- Restlessness and irritability.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Persistent worry or anxiety.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Shaking or trembling.
- Muscle tension.
If left untreated, the symptoms of GAD can become worse. Anxiety is known for causing temporary but persistent symptoms like muscle tension, nausea and sweating, but it can also cause long-term health complications like chronic digestion issues, migraines, heart issues and more. It’s important to keep your generalized anxiety disorder well managed to minimize the effects of GAD symptoms. A licensed mental health counselor can help individuals with anxiety manage their symptoms and improve their daily functioning.
What are the top treatments for generalized anxiety disorder?
Fortunately, there are treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. These treatments can improve the condition of your GAD and make daily activities less stressful to perform and anticipate:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy — One of the top treatments for generalized anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that is used during individual sessions between a patient and a mental health counselor. During sessions when CBT is employed, the patient is encouraged to practice transforming negative thought patterns and behaviors into neutral or positive thoughts that then lead to positive behaviors. It’s one of the most popular techniques used during talk therapy to treat conditions like anxiety and depression.
- Medication — Antidepressants are often prescribed for those who’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. They’re usually most helpful when simultaneously paired with other treatment methods, like talk therapy.
Active Path Mental Health can provide multiple levels of treatment for your generalized anxiety disorder
Generalized anxiety can negatively impact the quality of your life and every aspect of your life, from your eating habits to how well you sleep. Fortunately, several of the treatments we provide can be effective at treating the symptoms of anxiety. Our goal is to guide you toward active recovery and transformation.
Active Path Mental Health has locations in Oregon and Washington. Each one of our clinics can help you manage your generalized anxiety disorder.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.