Common stressors in life such as taking care of urgent errands, dealing with family problems, financial setbacks and other similar concerns may cause ordinary feelings of unease and anxiety. For most people, these feelings disappear as soon as action is taken and the issue is fixed or is in the process of being solved.
However, for people with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, it is a different story. GAD is a mental condition that gives the sufferer ongoing symptoms of excessive anxiety over common activities of the day to the point of interfering with the person’s productivity.
The National Institute of Mental Health declares that causes of generalized anxiety disorder are not yet fully recognized. According to researchers, a probable cause could be genetic factors though other causes, such as brain anomalies or even using certain substances, have been found as triggers of the condition. The institute also explains that women are twice as likely to develop the condition and that almost seven million Americans are affected at one point in their lives.
Although not stating it as a cause, the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Michigan states that other conditions have been found in patients with GAD as co-occurring disorders such as personality disorders, other conditions in the family of anxiety disorder, depression and substance abuse.
Signs and Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
But how can you identify generalized anxiety disorder in yourself? What should you do if you believe you have this condition? Four ways in which you can differentiate GAD symptoms from ordinary feelings of unease and anxiety from common stressors in life include the following:
- You worry about little things – One of the best ways to identify GAD is to ponder on the things that make you anxious. For example, someone with GAD will feel overly anxious about everyday activities such as what clothes to wear, what to prepare to eat, how to talk to others, household shores or interacting in work or school. Often the sufferer can realize that his amount of worry is not appropriate for the situation or issue.
- You can’t concentrate – Since anxiety is a mental issue that can hinder our ability to remain focused, people with GAD find themselves unable to relax, easily startled and unable to perform easy tasks because of strong feelings of concern. The sufferer believes that something will go wrong and therefore is not able to complete simple tasks due to fear of failure. This becomes an obstacle to having productive days at home, school or work.
- Anxiety triggers physical symptoms – Physical symptoms of anxiety are sleeplessness, headache, tiredness, sweating, irritability, muscle aches and other similar symptoms of malaise. Common anxiety may trigger these symptoms that go away after anxiety diminishes. However, since someone with GAD is constantly worried and anxious, the symptoms are ongoing and represent an obstacle to everyday activities.
- Worrying without apparent reason – Another factor that defines generalized anxiety disorder is not being able to exactly pinpoint the reason for your anxiety. For example, you might be excessively worrying about your safety when there is nothing threatening you at the moment, or you might feel that something negative is always about to befall you. These sorts of feelings can also develop into depression when not addressed in time.
These four ways to identify an anxiety disorder are a good way to start if you feel you are suffering from this condition. The Mayo Clinic website advises that medical attention should be sought upon discovering some of these symptoms and particularly when they develop into the following:
- Interference with your life activities and relationships
- Dangerous behaviors or suicidal thoughts
- Triggering other conditions such as substance abuse
Anxiety and Addiction
It is easy to understand how a constant state of worry or anxiety could become an underlying cause for substance abuse. For instance, the sufferer may rely on mood enhancers to be able to complete certain tasks or even abuse depressants to be able to relax. Instead of solving the problem, it only increases dangerously to the point where the patient will not need only anxiety help but also addiction help.
Dual Diagnosis rehab centers are treatment facilities where patients receive treatment that is focused on both conditions at the same time. This has proved to be one of the best approaches for the recovery of patients suffering from both addiction and a mental health condition.
Seek medical attention if you are having problems to keep a productive life due to a constant state of anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America agrees that an anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder is treatable through therapy, medications and other techniques.
Need Additional Anxiety Help or Addiction Help?
Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline where one of our trained treatment professionals will be happy to assist you in finding the right recovery program for your or your loved one. We have free information regarding counseling, intervention services, dual Diagnosis rehab centers, family support, health insurance for addiction and mental health disorders and much more. Call today.