Feeling anxious from time to time is an entirely normal part of life — especially if you are going through a stressful time. But if that worry and anxiety become constant and begin interfering with your daily life, you may be experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, GAD affects 3.1% of the United States population in any given year. Before searching for “generalized anxiety disorder treatment near me,” you should know a little more about its symptoms and treatment options.
Key Points About GAD
GAD can develop at any time in someone’s life and tends to exhibit symptoms similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and other types of anxiety. While it is similar to other conditions, GAD is its own separate condition characterized by persistent and excessive worry about many different things over a long time. People with GAD can find it incredibly difficult to control this worry, and it can affect how they live their lives.
It can sometimes be challenging to tell GAD from other anxiety disorders. But some key factors can help differentiate generalized anxiety disorder from other types of anxiety. GAD typically lasts longer than six months and may cause excessive worry about everyday events and issues, along with feelings of restlessness, irritability, fatigue, and trouble concentrating or sleeping. Symptoms are typically chronic but may lessen with age. The most effective treatment options will involve therapy, medication, and building healthy habits.
What Causes GAD?
Healthcare professionals today are not entirely certain what causes GAD. However, GAD typically appears between childhood and middle adulthood, and symptoms may increase gradually. Some additional factors may increase your likelihood of developing a generalized anxiety disorder. GAD tends to be more common in women than men.
Some people may be more at risk for GAD based on their genetics. While people with a more timid or passive temperament may be more likely to have GAD. Prolonged exposure to stress and traumatic or negative experiences during childhood is also associated with GAD and recent traumatic experiences or chronic illness.
Many of these risk factors may not be what directly causes generalized anxiety disorder, but they are often comorbid with it. People who fall into multiple categories should be aware of the symptoms of GAD.
Symptoms of GAD
Not everyone with a generalized anxiety disorder will display the same symptoms. This is especially true for older adults with GAD because symptoms can lessen with age. Symptoms can also fluctuate over time and may become more pronounced during times of stress — such as illness, family conflicts, or school exams.
The symptoms of GAD can include persistent anxiety about situations that are proportionally more intense than the event itself. People may catastrophize or overthink plans, solutions, and decisions to all of their worst possible outcomes. Difficulty handling uncertainty and an inability to set aside worry and relax are common symptoms. Many people with GAD may feel indecisiveness due to the fear of making the wrong decision.
Physical symptoms of GAD may include fatigue, muscle tension or muscle aches, and trembling or twitching. People may experience lightheadedness, sweating, insomnia, and irritability and feel on edge or easily startled. Physical symptoms can also include diarrhea, nausea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
How Is GAD Diagnosed?
Generalized anxiety disorder can be diagnosed by a mental health professional or through a mental health screening performed by a healthcare professional. The screening will cover your symptoms and how long you have had them. Your healthcare provider will likely refer you to a mental health specialist, like a psychologist, to work on treatment.
How Is GAD Treated?
Like many other mental health disorders, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating GAD. Some people may benefit from certain treatments, while others may need to take a different approach. The most common treatments for GAD are psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
One of the most commonly utilized forms of psychotherapy for treating GAD is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT aims to teach new and less stressful ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations. This can help lessen anxiety and respond to situations more effectively.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to help you manage your generalized anxiety disorder. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications both have the potential to ease GAD symptoms.
Numerous medications are available, but they may not work for everyone. As a result, you may have to try a few different medications before finding one that works for you. Your doctor can guide you through this process efficiently and safely.
Lifestyle changes can work in conjunction with medication and therapy. Most people cannot fully address GAD solely by making healthy habits. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle — exercising regularly, eating nutritious food, and getting enough sleep — can still tremendously benefit your mind and body and bolster the success of other treatments.
Additionally, adding in some time for self-care and stress management or relaxation techniques can be a great way to channel your energy healthily and productively. You can try incorporating techniques like mindfulness, meditation, or yoga into your day-to-day life.
How to Find Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment
Searching for “generalized anxiety disorder treatment near me” is one way to find help for GAD, but how do you find the right treatment for your needs? The right treatment for you may not be the same as for someone else. Working with a mental health professional who can help you best navigate your treatment options is vital. A treatment facility like Comprehensive Wellness Centers can help guide you through the available options.
Anxiety Disorder Treatment Near Me
If you notice that you or a loved one are displaying some common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, you should seek help as soon as possible. Like many other anxiety disorders and mental health conditions, GAD can worsen and become more difficult to manage the longer it is left untreated.
If you are ready to start figuring out the best treatment plan, consider reaching out to Comprehensive Wellness Centers to get in touch with a professional and experienced psychotherapist.