Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It is a normal and often healthy emotion, but it can become overwhelming in some individuals. Anxiety can also be a symptom of an underlying mental health disorder such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a mental health condition characterized an excessive and unrealistic worry and tension. Even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety. People with GAD experience excessive anxiety and worry about everyday things, such as health, money, work, or family issues, which are difficult to control. GAD can also cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, and trouble sleeping. GAD diagnosis is essential if the symptoms are present for at least six months and interfere with daily life.
Major signs and symptoms:
Some common signs and symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) include:
- Persistent and excessive worry or anxiety about a number of events or activities, such as work or school performance, family health, or personal safety.
- Inability to relax or quiet the mind
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
- Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches, and stomach upset.
- Avoiding certain situations out of fear
It is important to note that these symptoms must be present for at least 6 months and must interfere with daily life for a diagnosis of GAD.
Diagnosis of Mental Illness:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is typically diagnosed by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, who will conduct a comprehensive evaluation. The evaluation may include a physical examination, laboratory tests, and a psychological assessment.
The psychological assessment usually involves a clinical interview, during which the healthcare professional will ask about the person’s symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns. They will also ask about the person’s medical and psychiatric history, as well as any medications or substances they are currently taking.
Diagnostic criteria for GAD are established by the Diagn and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), and the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision (ICD-11). The diagnosis of GAD requires the presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities for at least 6 months, and the anxiety or worry must be difficult to control and interfere with daily life.
If the person meets the criteria for GAD, after diagnosis the healthcare professional will then work with the person to develop a treatment plan.
How is GAD treated?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is typically treated with a combination of therapy and medication. The most effective treatment plan for GAD will depend on the individual, but the main goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve the person’s ability to function in their daily life.
The most common types of therapy used to treat GAD are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and talk therapy such as psychotherapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that helps people identify and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior. CBT helps people with GAD learn to recognize and challenge unrealistic thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their anxiety.
Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. Which is a form of treatment that involves talking with a therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It helps people understand the underlying causes of their anxiety and develop coping strategies to manage their symptoms.
Medication is another way to treat GAD. Antidepressant medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medications for GAD. These medications can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, such as excessive worry and tension, and improve mood.
It is important to note that it is essential to work closely with a mental health professional to find the most appropriate treatment plan. A combination of therapy and medication may be the most effective approach.
Self-care and lifestyle changes can also be beneficial in managing GAD symptoms. Regular exercise, good sleep hygiene, and a balanced diet can help in reducing symptoms.
Best Home remedies for GAD:
Here are some home remedies that may help reduce symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that help improve mood and reduce stress.
- Relaxation techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
- Healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help improve overall health and reduce anxiety.
- Get enough sleep: Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and getting enough sleep can help improve mood and reduce anxiety.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can increase feelings of anxiety, so it’s best to limit or avoid them.
- Social support: Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family can help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.
- Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you identify triggers for your anxiety and develop coping strategies.
- Limit screen time before bedtime: Using electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets can disrupt sleep patterns and increase anxiety.
It’s important to note that while these home remedies can be helpful in reducing symptoms of GAD. They are not a substitute for professional treatment. If symptoms persist or get worse, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.