Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worrying that adversely affects a person’s life for at least six months at a time. GAD is, for the most part, an irrational response to a particular stimulus. A common example would be worrying about constantly missing the school bus, being late for meetings or worrying about receiving bad news to the point that it affects one’s daily activities. These everyday stimuli may not seem important to the general population, but for an individual with generalized anxiety disorder, the most trivial instances can create an enormous amount of stress and anguish.

Epidemiology

GAD affects 6.8 million adults in the U.S., with twice as many women as men affected, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Because anxiety is a common emotion, identifying the existence of an anxiety disorder can be difficult. Short-term anxiety about purchasing a home, changing jobs or an upcoming wedding can be very normal, and small amounts of anxiety may actually be healthy because it maintains a balance of stress hormones such as cortisol. So that patients may help themselves or a loved one to obtain treatment for an anxiety disorder, it is imperative to become familiar with its common symptoms.

Causes And Symptoms Of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The causes of GAD are numerous and up for debate, but the symptoms are fairly well-known and explained by Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., both writing for HelpGuide.

Symptoms of GAD typically include – but are not limited to – the following:

  • Hot flashes, restlessness and fidgeting
  • Muscle tension and aches
  • Difficulty swallowing and dry mouth
  • Headaches, fatigue and feeling short of breath
  • Agitation, irritability, trembling and twitching
  • Difficulty breathing and concentrating
  • Dry skin, rashes and acne
  • Nausea, numbness, sweating and insomnia
  • Constant worrying
  • Unable to complete and succeed in your daily routine because of the anxiety

GAD can co-occur with other anxiety disorders and behavioral health issues. Although many patients admitted to treatment centers believe they are dealing with GAD, their symptoms sometimes result from other anxiety-based disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder. GAD can be similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is characterized by obsessive and intrusive thoughts relieved by compulsive actions. The main difference is that GAD is not characterized by carrying out compulsive acts in order to gain relief from the intrusive thoughts. Instead GAD primarily deals with obsessive thoughts.

Anxiety Treatment

There are many different types of treatment approaches for GAD, and the combination of pharmacological agents with psychotherapy is the gold standard of care. Anxiety disorders treatment include antidepressants, which are the mainstay medications of choice. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants, are considered first-line pharmacotherapy for GAD. Other medications that have been proven to be effective in GAD treatment include benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety medications, and buspirone, a specific drug known to treat GAD.

Behavioral and cognitive behavioral therapies have been proven to be effective psychological approaches to help alleviate symptoms of GAD. Anxiety disorder treatment approaches depend on several factors such as severity of diagnosis, level of functioning prior to onset of symptoms, the degree of motivation for treatment, level of emotional and mental support and the ability to comply with medication and/or psychotherapeutic regimens.

Anxiety Treatment at Sovereign Health of Arizona

GAD is more than simply being overanxious; it is a condition with the potential to cause immense damage to one’s family, career, relationships and more. Because of social stigmas surrounding anxiety and mental health, many people let their anxiety disorders go undiagnosed, allowing them to wreak havoc on their lives.

Sovereign Health of Arizona is a women’s-only residential rehabilitation center located in Chandler, Arizona. The programs include treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, mental health disorders and co-occurring conditions. Additionally, this location provides a special emphasis on treating trauma that may have been caused by physical, emotional or mental abuse.

All of our treatment anxiety disorder treatment center locations throughout the continental U.S. are based on a philosophy that recognizes patients’ unique circumstances by providing them with personalized treatment plans tailored to their specific treatment needs.

Sovereign Health of Arizona provides its female patients with a residential rehab in a safe and supportive environment, where they can focus on their recovery.

If you have any questions regarding anxiety disorders treatment or other disorders affecting women, feel free to browse our site, or contact our admissions staff today by calling our 24/7 helpline.

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