Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is diagnosed when a person suffers excessive anxiety and worry that fuels apprehensive and negative expectations. The worry is often in many areas, situations, or events. These “worries” result in a general sense of restlessness, feeling keyed up, or on edge. Anxiety treatment in Philadelphia and Main Line can help you overcome those worried feelings.
The “worry” is to be distinguished from a more useful range of anxiety if the symptoms of the anxiety interfere significantly with a person’s ability to function interpersonally, socially, or with their occupation or other important areas of living.
In other words, the individual’s reaction seems too extreme for the situation at hand. Loved ones may describe the person’s “overly anxious,” less-than-functional reactions as usual and frequent. For example, a person suffering from GAD might say of a spouse taking a trip,
- “I know nothing will happen to him, but I’ll just stay awake until he arrives safely at his destination and calls me.”
- “I know I shouldn’t worry but I just can’t help myself.”
- “You know how I am.”
Anxiety Disorder and “No Risk” Living
GAD, while different than OCD, shares a fundamental component of a demand for “No Risk Living” or an intolerance of living with life as it exists. The worry can be varied and the individual can hold a few or multiple worries at a time. The person can also move from one worry to another. Worry occurs daily and can include essentially anything. It may look reasonable because it is focused on work tasks, friends, health, children, success, etc. We are all concerned to one degree or another about the details of our lives. The difference with GAD is the person’s difficulty in letting go of the push or demand to achieve “no risk.”
People without GAD can forego non-productive worry at some point because they don’t demand “no risk” living. They might say, “Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to know that we have perfect control of knowing that our fears will never happen. But, if I have to be honest, there is a risk in living even though we do not like or want it.”
While the individual with GAD would agree intellectually with this statement, they would continue to emotionally reject the risk. They would demand that reality change. More accurately, they would do rituals that cause significant distress (in the form of chronic long-term anxiety), feel less of a sense of intrapersonal control, and endure chronic tension in order to believe that they have control.
Effects of GAD
There are many ways in which an individual can suffer from extreme symptoms. The primary issue, as explained above, is related to an intolerance of or refusal to live with risk. The individual has not accepted or has not developed an ability to live or cope with natural, normal risk in certain areas of living.
Many people suffering from GAD report that they have been anxious most of their lives. While the disorder can “turn on” early, it tends to develop into what looks like an anxious temperament over time.
People suffering from GAD can lose time, energy, and quality of life because of their worry. The worrying takes up a great deal of time. Often starting in the morning when they awaken and lasting throughout the day, each day. It may cause muscle tension, tiredness and sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, and exaggerated startle response. They can benefit from treatment in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, the Main Line, and surrounding zip codes, such as 19102, 19120, 19104, 19118, 19107, and 19114.
Consult an Expert
The range of anxiety disorders is wide but the symptoms are often similar. It may be wise to consult a professional if you suspect that you have an anxiety disorder and want to understand the best ways to manage it. Below are some ways in which anxiety disorders are manifested:
- Substance or medication-induced anxiety disorder.
- Social anxiety disorder.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Panic disorder.
You can see a complete list of anxiety disorders MSAM treats. Finally, remember that a disorder just describes something that is not working well for you and needs attention, acceptance, or adjustment. It does not, by any means, describe who you are. Contact us to receive anxiety treatment in Montgomery County, the Main Line, and the Greater Philadelphia Area.