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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Worrying can be a normal response to stressful situations if we are feeling under pressure, stressed or anxious. Occasional anxiety is a normal human emotion and part of life. Many people may worry about things such as health, work, finances, school/college, or family problems but are able to manage in terms of these worries not affecting there ability to function with there every day life.

Generalized anxiety disorder is associated with excessive and uncontrollable worry which is present most days and interferes with a persons ability to focus on tasks and can have a negative effect on the persons daily functioning. Worry can be triggered by various things with some triggers being linked to internal (thought popping into your head i.e.“what if I didn’t lock the door of the house?” or what external situations by being put into a situation i.e “experiencing a relationship break up which perhaps leads to worry of “what if I am on my own for the rest of my life?”

Worry is characterised by lots of “What if” statements I.e. “what if I fail my exam?” “What if I am single for the rest of my life” What if someone close to me dies?”, “What if I make a mistake and I lose my job?” These worries can be very frequent for people and are difficult to dismiss which causes difficulty to concentrate on daily tasks. Worry is generally about the future and the future having a negative outcome. Therefore people engage in worrying behaviour as it may be interpreted as useful where a person believes “Worrying will prevent the worst outcome from happening” “Worry prepares me for the worst thing happening”. Unfortunately, this leads to increased anxiety and increased exhaustion when a person engages in a lot of worrying behaviours.

Generalized anxiety disorder tends to have prolonged and frequent worry which generates more anxiety and increased worry which prevents positive problem solving abilities for people. This can often lead to people engaging in behaviours such as avoiding situations or seeking reassurance from loved ones/work colleagues, internet, or other resources to help reduce anxiety.

What are the key signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder?

  • Anxiety and worry about several every day things for at least the past 6 months
  • excessive and uncontrollable worry which is present most days and interferes with a persons ability to focus on tasks and can have a negative effect on the persons daily functioning.
  • Feel restless and have trouble relaxing
  • Physical Tension
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Problems concentrating and focusing on tasks
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling tired or fatigue

Professional support is often required to determine the correct treatment in order to make a full recovery. CBT is one of the most an evidence based psychological intervention for the treatment for generalised anxiety disorder.

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