Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Part 3)

Generalized anxiety disorder is one type of anxiety. People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder feel somewhat anxious most of the time.  It may not spike up very often, but it rarely goes away.  Generalized anxiety is different from other anxiety disorders because:

1. there is no particular cause that is easy to discover 

2. it is difficult to find an escape.

If you have Generalized Anxiety, you often feel tension, nervousness and dread. You may get bodily sensations, too. Your heart might pound, you may sweat, or your stomach may feel like it is sinking. Worse still are headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and digestive distress.  When you feel these things, you get more anxious, so you set off more symptoms and more fear. It is a vicious circle and hard to figure out if your anxiety is causing your physical problems or your physical problems sets off the anxiety.  Distractions can break this cycle, at least for a little while.

I tell people, “Anxiety won’t kill you but it will make you miserable.”  Your body and mind are both involved in this problem. Generalized anxiety involves physiological symptoms because of heightened tension in your body. Thinking is also affected. Your thoughts are often occupied with negative self talk and repetitive ideas that don’t go anywhere useful.  If it goes on long enough, you begin to think in terms of catastrophe, on a global scale.

You can try therapy and see if the two of you can figure out some causes and solutions.  You usually need some techniques, not just discussion but I have found that talking about causes and having a good therapeutic relationship is the first step – before daily logs and thought journals. Yoga is excellent for restoring calm.  Exercise is always helpful and has been shown to positively affect the brain. Studies also have found that meditation can improve peace of mind. In addition, there are medications that can be taken regularly or as needed.

Part 4,  Managing Anxiety will be posted next Friday.  A is for Anxiety (part 1), was posted on 12/17.  Anxiety Lies, (Part 2), was  posted on 12/24.

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2 Responses to “Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Part 3)”

  1. January 1st, 2011 10:57 pm

    I have anxiety i am a single female and fourty one years of age.I totally know all about this and i cant tell you exactly when it started but i do know that it can be really painfull i have and do see a therapist and work with my primary care dr.for medication such as paxil is the latest med i am takeing i have been on it for two years know.I also have insomnia due to my years of being an alchholic i am know in recovery but its one day at a time so anxiety still is very much a part of my life .But i do know that it can be managable if you keep your life organized and plan your days accordiningly and leave enough time to get yourself up and out the door and do not take on more than you can handle such as to many activities and try to do relaxing things that you enjoy visit with friends and go for walks and just what you like to do and eat healthy .

  2. January 4th, 2011 12:17 am

    I LOVE your quote: “Anxiety won’t kill you but it will make you miserable.” It is the absolute truth! I have both experienced anxiety and have worked with clients dealing with it so I understand the struggle well. Thanks for the great insight.