All of us worry about things like health, money, or family problems. But people with generalized anxiety disorder GAD are extremely worried about these and many other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. They are very anxious about just getting through the day.
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They think things will always go badly. At times, worrying keeps people with GAD from doing everyday tasks. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes.
GAD develops slowly. It often starts during the teen years or young adulthood. Symptoms may get better or worse at different times, and often are worse during times of stress. When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can function socially and hold down a job. Generalized anxiety disorders affect about 3. The average age of onset is 31 years old. GAD affects about 6.
The disorder develops gradually and can begin at any point in the life cycle, although the years of highest risk are between childhood and middle age. GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months.
People with GAD may visit a doctor many times before they find out they have this disorder. It may take doctors some time to be sure that a person has GAD instead of something tor. First, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. The doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist.
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A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy is especially useful for treating GAD. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and worried. Rokm also may prescribe medication to help treat GAD. Two types of medications are commonly used to treat GAD—anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants. Anti-anxiety medications are powerful and there are different types.
Many types begin working right away, but they generally should not be taken for long periods. Antidepressants are used to treat depression, but ansiety also are helpful for GAD.
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They may take several weeks to start working. These medications may cause side effects such as headache, nausea, or difficulty sleeping.
These side effects are usually not a problem for most people, especially if the dose starts off low and is increased slowly over time. Talk to your doctor about any side effects you may have. These labels warn aanxiety that antidepressants may cause some people to have suicidal thoughts or make suicide attempts. Anyone taking antidepressants should be monitored closely, especially when they first start treatment with medications.
Some people do better with cognitive behavior therapy, while char do better with medication. Still others do best with a combination of the two. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you.
If you think you have an anxiety disorder, the first person you should see is your family doctor. A physician can determine whether the symptoms that alarm you are due to an anxiety disorder, another medical condition, or both. If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, the next step is usually seeing a mental health professional.
You should feel comfortable talking with the mental health professional you choose. If you do not, you should seek help elsewhere. Once you find a mental health professional with whom you are comfortable, the two of you should work as a team and make a plan to treat your anxiety disorder together. Remember that once you start on medication, anxiwty is important not to stop taking it abruptly.
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Certain drugs must be tapered off under the supervision anxieyy a doctor or bad reactions can occur. Make sure you talk to the doctor who prescribed your medication before you stop taking it. Most insurance plans, including health maintenance organizations HMOswill cover treatment for anxiety disorders. Check with your insurance company and find out.
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If you are on public anxiey, you may be able to get care through your state Medicaid plan. Many people with anxiety disorders benefit from ing a self-help or support group and sharing their ajxiety and achievements with others. Roon chat rooms can also be useful in this regard, but any advice received over the Internet should be used with caution, as Internet acquaintances have usually never seen each other and false identities are common.
Talking with a trusted friend or member of the clergy can also provide support, but it is not a substitute for care from a mental health professional. Stress management techniques and meditation can help people with anxiety disorders calm themselves and may enhance the effects of therapy. There is preliminary evidence that aerobic exercise may have a calming effect.
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Since caffeine, certain illicit drugs, and even anxuety over-the-counter cold medications can aggravate the symptoms of anxiety disorders, they should be avoided. Check with your physician or pharmacist before taking any additional medications.
The family is very important in the recovery of a person with an anxiety disorder. Family members should not trivialize the disorder or demand improvement without treatment. NIMH provides additional information about anxiety including information on clinical trials. Please visit their site for more in-depth or updated information. What do I say?
Who Is At Risk? Diagnosis GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday anxity for at least 6 months. Treatments GAD is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. Living With If you think you have an anxiety disorder, the first person you should anxidty is your family doctor. Ways to Make Treatment More Effective Many people with anxiety disorders benefit from ing a self-help or support group and sharing their problems and achievements with others.