Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD Overview & Symptom

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is marked by 6 or more months of consistent, chronic worry and tension. Many people with this worry about disaster and could be extremely concerned about different things like money, family, health , career or other situations. People with GAD struggled to control their worries and may worry much more than what seems appropriate . There are times as well when they worry for no or small reasons.

A GAD diagnosis happens when someone has a hard time controlling their worrying for at least 6 months and has 3 or more symptoms. The biggest difference between GAD & worry is that worrying tends to relate to only one specific stressed and lasts a much shorter period of time.

GAD is very common in North America, as it affect approximately 6.8 million adults! This accounts for 3.1% of the US’s entire population. Twice as many females are affected by this than male. GAD can occur to anyone and the highest risk of having it is between childhood and middle age years. No experts know where GAD comes from, but many believe there’s a link to genetics and negative life experiences.

Those who have GAD struggle to end the worry cycle and may believe it is out of their hands. Many times, they understand that they worry more than they should , but cannot stop thinking about whats concerning them. Often times ,they believe that if they worry about a situation, that it could prevent it from happening so stopping the worry could be a risk.

Many people with GAD manifest physical symptoms as well. The most common are gastrointestinal issues, headaches and increased blood pressure. It is possible to have a fulfilling life with GAD, be employed and have a significant other.  There can be times when they turn down fantastic opportunities such as traveling and social events due to their disorder. If the person struggles with severe GAD, they could have the most difficult time doing even the simplest daily activities, such as getting to work.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

There are many different treatment options available for someone who has GAD. At Makin Wellness, we use CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, as it has been thoroughly researched and targets certain thoughts, symptoms and behaviors in order to make lasting change. CBT is an evidence based practice, which means that it is scientifically proven to be effective. Adults and kids who are treated with CBT show positive outcomes. Mindfulness is also important to implement with any type of anxiety disorder as that helps the client focus on the present , rather than worry about the futures.

Medication can also be an effective tool if the client prefers to go that route. Normally for GAD, an SSRI , or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is prescribed. SSRI’s help to increase serotonin levels in the brain , which helps balance out your mood. These can be very effective for people with GAD , are non-addictive and usually only have minimal side effects. Common SSRIs are Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro and Zoloft.

Deep breathing and relaxation techniques are very important to incorporate into treatment. Guided meditations, yoga, exercise, spending time outside and other enjoyable activities that encourage you to be present in the moment can greatly assist with reducing GAD.

GAD could occur along with another disorder, such as addiction or depression and is very common. Co morbid disorders would also be treated appropriately with the right and effective options.

If you are struggling with  GAD, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premiere therapy and coaching center located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . 

sara makin

Sara Makin
MSEd, LPC, NCC
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