Generalized Anxiety Disorder


Last Updated February 2nd, 2020

What is Generalized anxiety disorder?

GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is very different from normal anxiety. In the case of GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder), people often worry about every small thing happening in life such as your finances, relationships, social image etc.

The most common characteristics of Generalized Anxiety Disorder are exaggerated or excessive anxiety about everyday life. Often these worries have no reason. The individuals who are going through the Generalized Anxiety Disorder often cannot explain the reasons for the anxiety or worries. Generalized Anxiety Disorder starts affecting a person’s daily life functioning such as work, social activities, relationships etc.
 

What are the causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

There is an ample number of factors which can result in Generalized Anxiety Disorder in a person. Some of the most common factors are discussed  below:

Genetics: Family history of a person plays a  very significant role in increasing the chances of an individual developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is hereditary and can be passed on in families.

Brain Chemistry: GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) can result in various abnormal functioning of some specific nerve cell pathways. These nerve cell pathways which get affected are mostly connected to the regions of the brain which are involved in the thinking process and emotions. The nerve cell pathways which help in transmitting information via chemicals are called the neurotransmitters. When these pathways stop functioning in a regulated or efficient way, they easily affect a person’s mood resulting in anxiety.

Various  environmental factors : A person’s circumstances around him, as well as his experiences, play a very significant role in causing GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder).If an individual had experienced or have been experiencing traumas such as abuse, divorce, the demise of a loved one, job changing it can result in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The usage or even the withdrawal from various addictive substances such as cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, etc can result in Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

When should I go for the doctor?

You should consider consulting a doctor immediately if you are experiencing the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Some of the most common symptoms associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder are as follows:

  • Loss of memory
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritability and sudden mood changes
  • Persisting fatigue and weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia or difficulty in sleeping
  • Muscles twitches or muscle tensions
  • Very frequent stomach aches or diarrhoea
  • Chills and shivers 
  • The palms and feet get sweaty
  • Irregular heartbeat, mostly an increased pace of the heartbeat
  • There are  various neurological symptoms too such as numbness or tingling feeling in various parts of the body of an individual
  • Excessive tension and worries without any reason
  • Restlessness
  • Persisting headache 
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent sweating
  • Nausea and irritability
  • Frequent feeling of urination

What are the various complications related to Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

There are several complications which are related to the condition of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Some of the most common complications of Generalized Anxiety Disorders are as follows:

Experiencing GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) can disable a person since it has severe effects on various parts of the body and especially the neurological parts get affected.

  • Having GAD  can easily impair an individual from performing various tasks quickly and efficiently since GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) makes it very difficult for an individual to concentrate.
  • It increases the chances of getting into depression.
  • An individual having GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) results in the drainage of all the energy of an individual

There are various physical complications as well which are associated with the GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Some of the complications are as follows:

  • Persisting headaches and pains due to migraines
  • Chronic pains due to various illness
  • Constipation and other bowel problems like irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcer development
  • Insomnia and difficulties in sleeping
  • Various digestive issues
  • Several heart problems start developing

There are even a few mental health issues which get resulted due to the GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Some of the mental issues which occur very commonly in people suffering from GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) are as follows:

  • Panic Disorders or Panic Attacks 
  • Phobias and traumas
  • PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • OCD(Obsessive-compulsive Disorder)
  • Substance abuse or addiction to various drugs like cocaine, alcohol, etc.
  • Thoughts of suicide 
  • Depression

What are the procedures of diagnosing the GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder)?

Your doctor might diagnose the GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) in the following ways:

You might undergo several physical tests via which your doctor determines if your anxiety has any underlying medical issues. There are various medical conditions which can result in GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Some of the most common medical conditions which  can lead to GAD(Generalized Anxiety disorder) are as follows:
 
GERD(Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
– Thyroid disorders or diseases related to the thyroid gland
– Heart or cardiac diseases
– Menopause
 
The GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) affects mental health severely. Hence, few mental health screenings are also recommended by your health practitioner. You will be asked several questions about the signs and the symptoms that you had been facing as well as the duration that you had been facing it for.

If any medical conditions are suspected by your health practitioner, then he can recommend you further tests for determining the clear reason for the GAD(generalized Anxiety Disorder). He might recommend a blood test for determining various hormone levels, urine test for substance abuse, endoscopy for the digestive system which helps in the determination of the GERD(Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
 

What are the medicines which are generally used for treating GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder)?

The medicines which are generally used for treating GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) are as follows:

  • Antidepressants: The general antidepressants used for treating GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) belong to the SSRI(Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) and SNRI(Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor) classes. These are used as first-line medical treatments. Some common examples of antidepressants which are used for treating GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) are escitalopram, venlafaxine etc.
  • Buspirone: This is one of the most common antidepressants which is used for curbing anxiety. It is an anti-anxiety medication which can be used on a daily basis. It takes time to be effective of your body. Sometimes it might take a few weeks as well to start working on your body effectively.
  • Benzodiazepine :Your doctor might suggest you the Benzodiazepine medication in very rare cases since it can be very habit-forming for maximum individuals taking it. This medicine helps in providing some relief to the problems of the GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder). This medicine is often used for the treatment of acute anxiety but on a very short term basis. This sedative is not recommended to be administered if you have or if you had any problems related to a substance or drug abuse.

What are the other ways by which you can treat GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder)?

Besides, the psychotherapy and medications, some changes in the lifestyle of a person can also help in treating or preventing the GAD(General Anxiety Disorders). Some of the common home therapies are as follows:

  • Be more active physically:

You should be active physically for most days of the week. Being physically active and exercising properly is a great stressbuster. It helps in uplifting your mood and also makes you healthier physically as well as mentally.

  • Try getting a good amount of sleep

You should make sleep one of your major priorities. One of the major reasons for the GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is sleeplessness. Make sure that you sleep well because that can make you feel more relaxed.

  • Try  various relaxation techniques

There are various techniques which can help you relax your mind and will drain out the stress from your mind. The relaxation techniques which can be generally used for treating GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) are visualization, yoga and meditation.

  • Avoiding any kind of drugs or addictive substances

Try to avoid all the substances which are addictive such as alcohol and drugs like cocaine, marijuana etc. 

  • Quit smoking and stop drinking coffee

You should try not to drink coffee and try to quit smoking completely. Any kind of caffeine content, as well as smoking, can trigger the symptoms of GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder).

Does GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disoreder) happen in kids?

GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is very common among kids and adolescents. Maximum kids start facing the symptoms when they are entering their phase of adolescence.

The most common symptoms of the GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) are as follows:

  • Degrading performance at school or sports events
  • Trying to be more punctual or on time
  • Can be excessively anxious 
  • He or she might try to make everything perfect
  • They might show a lack of confidence
  • Striving hard for an approval
  • They are too hypochondriac and  can have too much physical complains
  • Frequent stomach ache is very natural for them
  • Avoid social spaces and often avoid people around them
  • Restlessness and apprehensive feelings
  • Easily getting tired and fatigued
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Loss of memory
  • Trembling and shivers
  • Muscle twitching
  • Night sweats 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Persisting and recurrent headaches 

Can GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) affect the unborn in a pregnant woman?

GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) can have adverse effects on the health of the unborn inside the womb of the mother. There are several risks associated with it. Some of the most common risks are as follows:

  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm delivery
  • Baby with a very low weight which is lower than normal
  • Kids with the problem of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

How to prevent GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder)?

There are so many ways by which you can prevent GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Some of the most common ways of preventing GAD(Generalized Anxiety Disorder) are as follows:

  • Cessation or reduction of the consumption of various products that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, cola, chocolates etc.
  • Before resorting to any kind of herbal remedies, always consider consulting your doctor.
  • Be very careful if you are taking any OTC(Over The Counter) medicines. There are several drugs which can increase the symptoms of GAD(generalized Anxiety disorder), hence it is suggested to discuss it with your doctor before you are taking any OTC(Over The Counter) medications.
  • Maintain a regular healthy diet. Perform some regular exercises regularly besides following a good and healthy diet.
  • Consult a counsellor and seek help or support whenever required. Especially if you have gone through any traumatic experience, it is suggested to consult a doctor or a counsellor.
  • Try to practice some stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation. It helps a person relax and can easily curb the symptoms of GAD(Generalized Anxiety disorder).

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