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- Feb 09 2017
Everything you need to know about General Anxiety Disorder
Occasional anxiety is a natural and habitual component of life, much like anger, happiness and sadness. Individuals tend to get anxious over a variety of situations ranging from work-related problems, to taking a test and so on.
However, anxiety disorders involve more than temporary feelings of fear. Such anxiety is more permanent than the occasional anxiety as mentioned above. Such anxiety exacerbates over a period of time. The outcome of being faced with anxiety orders such as the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), can interfere with the daily activities of that individuals life such as relationships, jobs, or even the daily functioning in very serious cases. Anxiety disorders can be found in various forms. Such disorders include but are not limited to the Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and the Social Anxiety Disorder.
Generalized Anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry that is apprehensive expectation about certain activities, This excessive worry often interferes with the daily functioning as individuals suffering from GAD typically anticipate disastrous outcomes of the situations they are apprehensive about despite there being no apparent reason for concern, These issues could vary from money to family problems, to work related issues and to even death.
Sometimes, just the thought of getting through the day produces uneasiness and apprehension. The individuals suffering from GAD have no control over their worry and distress, even though they may know better. That is to say that they may be fully acquainted with their anxiety and the fact that it is more intense that the situation warrants for. However, they have no specified technique or absolute control on methods to curb their thinking and anxiety towards the situation that is most anticipated by them. The normal, standardized rating scales show that the GAD is the most common disability in the workplace, in the United States.
Victims suffering from GAD are under such mental strain that this reflects not only their mental state but it affects their physical being too, basically their bodily health. They may exhibit symptoms such as concentration difficulties, trembling, agitation, sweating, restlessness and insomnia. These symptoms must be prevalent in an individual suspected to be suffering from GAD for at least 6 months for a formal diagnosis of GAD. In severe cases of GAD, the individual is unable to even function socially.
There are usually triggers for such mental disorders such as bi-polarity, anxiety and depression. Victims, suffering from any of these disorders, or any other mental disorder demonstrating similar symptoms, and seeking help to eradicate or curb such disorders, are first made aware of these triggers by various methods of therapy. Such victims tend to avoid such triggers which may be ranging from
people to certain situations!
GAD may be caused by a number of factors. Although the exact cause of GAD remains unknown, a number of factors including genetics, brain chemistry and environmental stress appear to contribute to its development. As for genetics, research suggests that family history plays a vital role in the likelihood that an offspring will develop GAD. Brain Chemistry has been associated with abnormal functioning of nerve cell pathways that connect particular connections deepening on the neurotransmitters that transmit information from one nerve cell to the other. If the pathways that connect specific brain regions are not fully functional, problems related to mood and anxiety may result. Situations may contribute to the stimulation of GAD too. This is a constituent of Environmental Factors. Stress and trauma such as abuse, death, divorce, change of schools or jobs, contribute to GAD. Periods of prolonged stress definitely don’t help the cause.
The use and withdrawal from addictive substances, including alcohol, caffeine and nicotine have been found to worsen anxiety. GAD may be diagnosed formally, by a legal medical practitioner, who starts with an oral evaluation of the individual’s psychiatric history and then may be asked to perform a physical examination. Although there isn’t a formal test to determine GAD, the doctor may use various tests to look for physical illness as a cause of such exhibited symptoms.
Anxiety disorders are treated and a large number of people are helped with professional care. However, the success of the treatment varies from individual to individual. Some patients respond within weeks while others take more than a year. Treatment is shown to be more complicated if the victim suffers from any co-existing condition such as depression, substance abuse, etc. Although treatment is individualized several standard approaches have proved to be effective. A psychiatrist and/or a psychologist may use either one strict form of treatment or a combination of two or more treatments. Such treatments range from Therapy, Medication, Complementary and alternative treatment or transcranial magnetic stimulation – in extreme cases.
Therapy consists of a vast number of kinds. This ranges from Exposure Therapy which is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is a process of reducing fear and anxiety responses to situations that are found to trigger anxiety. In such kind of therapy, a person is gradually exposed to the feared or anticipated or rather much dreaded situation of person or object, with an aim to trigger less sensitivity to that situation or person or object, over a period of time, by exposing the individual to it. Another kind of Therapy is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which is a type of therapy that uses acceptance and mindfulness along with commitment and behavioural change as a way to cope with unwanted feelings and sensations. It helps to develop greater clarity about one’s personal morals and values. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is also an integrating cognitive behavioural technique with concepts from Eastern meditation combined with acceptance and change. DBT develops an individual’s skills towards tolerating distress and regulating emotions.
Medication treatment of anxiety is often used in conjunction with therapy. There are four major classes of medications used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. These are – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s), Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI’s), Benzodiazepines and Antidepressants. Serotonin is regarded as a chemical produced in the brain that is responsible for maintaining balance and the mood of an individual. Deficit of serotonin in the brain may lead to anxiety or depression. SSRIs are believed to increase the extracellular level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by limiting its reabsorption into the presynaptic cell, increasing the level of serotonin in the synaptic cleft available to bind to the postsynaptic receptor. However, such class of medication has a number of adverse effects ranging from sexual dysfunction to suicide ideation. Benzodiazepines are used as sedatives, hypnotics, anxiolytics, anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants. Such class of drugs are required in moderation for the medical treatment of Anxiety. However, they are only effective, short-term.
Although many people with GAD cannot be cured and symptoms can return from time to time, most people gain substantial relief from their symptoms with proper treatment. Exercise is the most undermined form of Anti-Anxiety and Anti- Depressants. Regular exercise and a healthy intake of food, is the safest and cleanest form of reducing GAD in individuals. It is the most effective form of treatment, second to prescription drugs. However, unlike prescription drugs it does not have any adverse effects. Stress- Management techniques such as Yoga and Meditation also help in the relief of anxious feelings faced by people suffering from GAD. Caffeine, alcohol or any other form of addiction that has the tendency to drastically change the mood of an individual must be avoided. The main key to resolve or over turn, at least for its major portion of GAD is acknowledging that the biggest need is for balance and stability. All sorts of substances that result in any technique to uplift the mood of an individual will eventually result in double its downfall.
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