Day-to-day worries are common in life, especially during stressful times. However, for people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), these worries are all consuming and can interfere with work and relationships. GAD is an anxiety disorder, which is the most common form of mental illness in the United States. Just like any mental illness, GAD can sometimes be hard to understand. Below you’ll find some facts you should know about this mental illness and the effects it can have on everyday life.
People With GAD Can’t Just “Get Over It”
GAD is a mental illness affecting 6.8 million American adults that is characterized by excessive worry about a variety of everyday things. People with GAD tend to expect the worse from most situations even when there’s no apparent cause for concern. Although some people think that those who have GAD should just “lighten up” and stop worrying, it’s not that simple. Often people with GAD know that their worries are too excessive but they don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and they often feel out of control. GAD is a real illness that doesn’t just go away on its own—it requires treatment by a medical professional.
Some People Have a Higher Risk of Developing GAD
There are risk factors that make some people more likely to develop GAD. Women are more at risk than men, and GAD can be genetic. Furthermore, someone who has a timid or negative personality or who avoids anything they perceive as dangerous may be more at risk of developing GAD.
GAD Can Affect One’s Physical Health
Sometimes the stress caused by GAD can be so severe that it affects one’s physical health. Physical side effects of GAD may includeheadaches, stomachaches, fatigue, muscle tension, feeling out of breath and feeling light-headed.
GAD is Not the Same as Other Anxiety Disorders
GAD is one of many different types of anxiety disorders and each one has different symptoms and criteria. For example, a panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is diagnosed when people suffer from attacks of terror without a distinguishable cause. Social phobia disorder is diagnosed when people have a strong fear of being watched and judged by others. A specific phobia is diagnosed when someone has an extreme fear of an object or situation that poses little to no danger.
GAD is Treatable
Although there is no cure for GAD, there are various forms of help and treatment available. Therapy is often helpful for people with GAD and there are several medications available to help people combat their symptoms and reduce their anxiety. Furthermore, many people find that eating healthy, staying active and taking time to relax helps them manage their symptoms. Most people with GAD respond well to treatment and are able to live regular, fulfilling lives.
Feature Image: David Marcu