Types of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders come in a variety of types, ranging from panic disorders to something called Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. Symptoms vary from one type to the next.
Diagnosing any type of anxiety disorder requires the help of a mental health professional. If you first learn what to look for, however, it can be a first step in seeking out the help you need.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder causes the individual to experience stress on an ongoing basis for days or even weeks. The intensity of this stress interferes with the individual’s ability to have a normal life.
Some days in GAD may have less stress, but in order to meet the criteria for a diagnosis, the patient has to have more days that are stressful than not over six months at least. When stress is prevalent but not this consistent, the patient may have a related disorder.
What Causes GAD
Anything from a personal relationship to work can cause stress and anxiety in our lives. These circumstances are often the cause of GAD, as well.
A patient should work in partnership with a therapist to identify the triggers causing their GAD. Part and parcel of healing is identifying triggers so that the patient can then implement effective coping mechanisms.
There may be some biological triggers of GAD, according to ongoing research. Many professionals believe that there may be a genetic cause of anxiety which can lead to GAD. Biological factors such as chemical imbalances may be the cause of GAD when there are no clear circumstances in a patient’s life that could trigger the disorder.
How Common is GAD?
Statistics tell us that 3.1 percent or a little less than 7 million adults have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Children and teens can also have the disorder, though is less research on their rates of occurrence. One third of those with GAD experience severe symptoms. .One distressing fact is that less than half of that 7 million seeks out treatment for the disorder. If you believe you may have GAD, reach out to your mental health professionals to discuss your situation.
GAD Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms of GAD vary from case to case. Patients can experience any of the following.
Psychological GAD Symptoms:
- A constant feeling of dread
- Startles easily
- Worrying all the time
- An inability to concentrate
- Always anxious or on edge
- An inability to sleep
- Poor decision making abilities
- Trembling or shaking
- Muscle fatigue or tension
- Always feeling tired, even when rested
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
Symptoms in Children and Adolescents:
- Worrying all the time
- Fixating on disasters or apocalypse
- Striving for perfectionism
- Low self-confidence
- Requiring constant reinforcement
- Socially avoidant
How to Treat GAD
Mental health professionals take a number of approaches when treating GAD. These can include therapy, helping the patient make lifestyle changes, or prescribing medication. Effective therapies include CBT, which allows patients to identify triggers and develop better coping mechanisms in the face of those triggers.
If a doctor and patient decide that medication is necessary, there are several options to consider, including benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and buspirone. Ongoing medication management may be necessary to ensure that a medication continues to benefit a patient.
What is a Panic Attack?
GAD sometimes causes a patient to experience what is known as a panic attack. Panic attacks involves having a high stress response to a situation that is not actually life threatening or high stakes. Physical reactions in a panic attack can include rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, and trembling. Panic attacks are sometimes also present in related mental health disorders.