What is GAD? Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Written By May 1, 2017-
There are only a handful of anxiety disorders that are regularly diagnosed. Perhaps one of the most common of these, with ironically the least amount of specifics, would be Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
About Generalized Anxiety Disorders
This is kind of a catch-all condition for anxiety disorders. When someone doesn’t clearly fit the mold for the more specific varieties of disorders, but still have recurring symptoms associated with them, then they are often diagnosed with having GAD. This can later be modified into another type of anxiety disorder as potential information and triggers come to light. So with more and more people getting this diagnosis every day, it seems fitting to learn all the facts that are out there about it. The more that you understand about it, the less unknown you have left to fear, which ultimately could result in you having less anxiety about your disorder overall.
Do You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder And Don’t Know It?
Since this condition is so common anymore, it stands to reason that a lot of people are dealing with it on a daily basis and not even realizing that it is a diagnosable problem. So there are a couple things that you can ask yourself to determine if this is something that you might want to get looked into by a medical professional.
Are You Nervous Often For Seemingly No Reason?
This is often a great indication of someone who might be suffering from GAD. The inexplicable feeling of nervousness or anxiousness can sometimes overwhelm everything else that you have going on. If you are finding this happening more and more, than it might be time to consult a doctor.
Am I Having Panic Attacks?
There are no real explanations for panic attacks, and they can show up as different things to different people. Some people feel nauseous, others have a heightened heart rate, others sweat. Some have a combination of numerous symptoms all at once. Whatever it is, you will know that your body doesn’t feel normal, and that strangeness is coupled with anxiety.
There is not a long list of symptoms that exist for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In fact, the two questions that you just asked yourself can also serve as a basis for checking the symptoms of the condition against your normal behavior. While some disorders, like OCD, have clear behavioral indicators of their presence, GAD is a little more broad in how it affects those that end up with a diagnosis.
One of the things that seems to be universal for all of the disorders associated with heightened levels of anxiety is the trigger system. This is when an object, place, person or circumstance causes your condition to flare up with various symptoms. Often times for a sufferer of GAD, the trigger itself is going to result in the production of a panic attack. With the uncomfortable nature of a panic attack, it grows increasingly more important to identify these triggers as quickly and efficiently as you are able to. The more that you know and understand about them, the more that you are able to manage the disorder itself.
But identifying triggers is often easier said than done. Everyone on the planet juggles a certain amount of daily stress and even instances of mild social anxiety, so what about your life is causing that stress and worry to amplify to the point of being out of control for a short time? Writing out a journal or keeping an accurate log of your day’s events (especially when symptoms present themselves) can give you an indication of the common circumstance you are experiencing when these symptoms flare up.
There are several different treatment plans for those that have this condition, though it really depends on the severity. The more complex and intricate your symptoms appear to be, the more likely that harder and more involved treatment methods could be required to bring you back into feeling like your normal self more often. Typically, complex cases are going to involve prescriptions and therapy. Both of which can help you to overcome the part of your brain that tends to panic under certain circumstances.
This isn’t to suggest that this is the only suitable line of treatment however. There are many who have been able to manage their respective conditions simply from employing a few strategies to help themselves self-soothe.
Self-Soothing Strategies For Managing Your GAD
There are numerous ways that a person is able to get themselves calmed down enough to get through a present panic attack, or potentially prevent one from ever happening. A lot of this process will lie in how well a person is able to manage the stress that is present in their lives. A good way that you can do this is to engage your brain in complex tasks that have a clear objective and goal. For example, you might build a 500 piece puzzle over the course of a weekend. This keeps your mind busy on the task at hand (and not on the various stresses of your life) and gives your mind a clear victorious goal to work towards.
Having someone to talk to is another important part of soothing yourself without employing professional assistance. This is often the other half of a relationship that you are in, as they will most often hear your worries and concerns without judging you. Sometimes just having someone in your corner that is willing to shoulder the load is enough to put a mind at ease.
To have a condition like Generalized Anxiety Disorder doesn’t have to mean a complete derailing of your entire life. In fact, the more that you are able to understand about this condition, the less stressful it might actually become for you. It would appear that most people diagnosed with GAD have continued to lead full and active lives; it just involves you taking a few extra steps in order to keep your stress levels and nervousness at a minimum. Identifying and understanding your triggers should be a big help with this process, and avoiding them can ensure that you spend less and less time having those same nervousness and anxiousness symptoms rising up again.