There’s a big difference between merely feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder. It’s normal to feel anxious before starting a new job or speaking in public. This type of nervousness has a specific cause, it’s predictable, and others can understand why you feel anxious. However, for people with generalized anxiety disorder, feeling nervous and “on edge” is a part of their daily life even when there’s little reason to worry.
Mental Symptoms of GAD
Several years ago, a survey found that roughly 3 million Canadians, or nearly 12%, suffered from some form of anxiety. General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is among the most common anxiety disorders. One common misconception about GAD is that people with the disorder don’t realize that their anxiety is unrealistic. In reality, people with GAD recognize that their worry is irrational, but they’re still unable to stop their anxious thoughts. While each person’s experience with GAD can vary in severity, some common mental signs can include:
Physical Symptoms of GAD
While describing their experience with GAD, one individual said, “Anxiety is like an adrenaline rush without the actual roller coaster! Heart races, palms sweat, knees get weak. You have all the physical symptoms of a thrill ride but your brain has no actual event to tie the symptoms to.” The physical signs of anxiety disorders are less well-known than the mental symptoms because the general public typically doesn’t associate anxiety with physical effects. Due to the constant feelings of dread and apprehension, GAD can cause a litany of physical symptoms. Some common signs can include:
Causes and Risk Factors
Like most types of mental health disorders, there is no one known cause of GAD. Researchers believe that developing GAD may be caused by a variety of biological and environmental factors such as:
Possible Complications Due to GAD
Sometimes, GAD can become debilitating. Being unable to sleep, or having worsening feelings of restlessness or worry can start interfering with someone’s daily routine. The symptoms may increase in severity and prevent an individual from living out their normal life Untreated GAD may even cause or worsen physical and mental illnesses such as:
Tips to Prevent GAD
Although there’s no way of predicting the development of a mental illness, anyone can benefit from adopting healthier habits. These simple tips can help improve your life and create healthy ways to deal with stressful situations or worries:
If you believe you’re suffering with GAD, make an appointment with your doctor. They will be able to rule out other illnesses or conditions and will give you an accurate diagnosis. It’s also important to get treatment early rather than later on; your anxiety may worsen, and it tends to be easier to treat if you get help sooner. Your doctor may suggest medication, such as antidepressants or sedatives, to help you manage your anxiety.
If medication along isn’t enough, talk therapy is often beneficial for people with anxiety disorders because they can express their worries without fear of judgement. A great therapist will teach clients coping skills to deal with worrisome thoughts and work with them to start changing their thought processes. Cognitive behavioral therapy is typically a short-term commitment and is dedicated to helping people ease their worries and return to living a normal, fully-functioning life.
Starting therapy can seem scary, but Oakville Wellness Center makes it easy to choose the right therapist for your needs. You can check out profiles of qualified therapists or even schedule an appointment today.