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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

One of the most destructive habits known to man must be the habit of worrying. Worrying or getting anxious about routine things robs one of the joys of daily living, makes mountains out of where mole hills exist. Winston Churchill had once mentioned knowing an old man who on his deathbed said that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of his which never really happened.

Similar is the case with people who suffer from the generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is characterized by an irrational, excessive and exaggerated worry and apprehension of everyday events without any obvious reasons. Such people anticipate disaster at every turn and get anxious about family, health, money issues, work difficulties or even friendships and interpersonal relationships.

This worry is often unrealistic and the person lives in a constant state of fear and dread; sometimes it even leads to physical manifestations such as fatigue, headaches, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, hot flashes, difficulties in breathing and swallowing, muscle tension and aches, as well as stomach symptoms including stomach clenching, increased acidity, etc. For the person to be diagnosed as having GAD, the symptoms should persist for six months minimum. The symptoms are similar to what is seen in panic disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder, though each one is unique.

Having to live with GAD can be very challenging and in many cases, the disorder may develop during childhood itself; in most cases, this condition can be treated successfully with medications and psychotherapy. Using relaxation techniques like meditation can yoga can help the patient cope up better with the disorder.
As with other similar mental health disorders, the exact cause of GAD isn’t clear and may have something to do with genetics and a few other risk factors. Some of these risk factors include the gender of the person, as women are more often diagnosed with GAD than men. The personality of the person should also be considered as those with timid and negative outlooks tend to be more prone to GAD. There is also some evidence that GAD runs in families.
Having GAD can make life a little complicated as it slows the person down mentally; it takes them time to process information or perform tasks efficiently. It also saps the energy and gives sleepless nights, leading to more confusion; it becomes a cycle that eventually leads to depression, insomnia, substance abuse, and cardiac and digestive issues.

Your doctor may ask you a whole lot of questions regarding your history, moods, experiences, intakes, habits before taking a decision on a diagnosis.

Treatment includes medications such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and sedatives; psychotherapy is also included in the treatment regime and it may take a while before the doctor gets the exact combination to get you on the road to recovery.

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