Generalized Anxiety Disorder – GAD
Generalized anxiety disorder is described by perspective thoughts that are uncontrollable on a certain event or activity. This affects our physical and mental well-being and the concerns are related to our lifestyle, relationships, work stress, friends and family, death of a close one, financial worries, and continuous health issue. They mostly affect our mental stability and interfere with our sleep, other symptoms like irritation, sweating, restlessness, tension, weakness, and shivering.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
GAD Symptoms: Generalized anxiety disorder or GAD can be detected in case it has an existence of six or more months. This is generally seen in people who have been suffering from physical abuse or has a family history of the disorder. GAD-7 can be used to gauge the severity of the issue.
It is advised to see a doctor in case the problem is severe and medicines like duloxetine, pregabalin, venlafaxine, and escitalopram.
GAD is a global issue and it is twice more effective in women than on men. About 4% of people globally are suffering from GAD at some point in their life.
GAD Risk Factors
Genetic Factors affecting GAD
People who belong to the genes who have already had a GAD issue in the previous history are more prone to suffer the same.
If benzodiazepines are used for the long term then it can exacerbate the level of anxiety and if benzodiazepines are reduced then it has chances to reduce anxiety symptoms. The same is the case, prolonged use of alcohol also stresses a person and causes anxiety and prolonged absence of the same helps in diminishing anxiety but then to cut off the anxiety it may take a long time.
Addiction to tobacco is also a situation that gives rise to anxiety. It is noticed that exposure to tobacco smoke affects the neurotransmitter systems, inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondria dysfunction.
Caffeine is also considered to be maintaining anxiety as this over activates the nervous system.
GAD is generally seen among people with low-income groups or socio-economic status like separated, divorced, and unemployed or has lower levels of education.
It is also common among elderly people or people with low self-esteem, sexual abuse or disordered family environments.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Test: Use the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association
This criterion contains any of the following symptoms:
- Suffering from anxiety for six or more months and is generally seen in most of the activities we perform.
- The symptoms are not under the control
- Symptoms like – restlessness, tired, low concentration, irritation, muscle pull, insomnia or breaks in sleep
- Symptoms occur not due to medication or any other drug consumption
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder ICD- 10?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder ICD- 10 criteria may include:
- Six months of continuous or frequent worry about everyday dealings and hitches
- Any of the four symptoms need to occur-
- Autonomic arousal symptoms-
- Excessive sweating
- Dryness of the mouth
- Chest and Abdomen concerns-
- Choking feeling
- Grasping for breath
- Pain in the Chest
- Concerns related to mental health-
- Dizzy feeling
- Derealization or Depersonalization
- Fear of Death or losing control over things and people
- General symptoms-
- A sudden feeling of heat or chills
- Aches and pains
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Other symptoms
- Frequent irritation
- Difficulty in concentration and chances of going blank
- Challenge in peaceful sleep
- Feeling of shock when receiving surprises
To prevent yourself include food items that are rich in Omega-3 and practice exercise that helps your muscles to relax. Also, practice deep breathing and meditation.
Try to avoid the intake of caffeine in the body as this would help keep away from GAD.
Avoiding the addiction to nicotine can also help reduce the risk of anxiety disorders.
What is GAD Treatment?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment: So as we have understood the symptoms and reasons for GAD we should also be aware of the fact that if it is not treated correctly it can become chronic with time.
To take care of the same cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications have proved to be successful. A combination of both has shown desirable results in curing faster than any other method or any one of them.
- Lifestyle- Bring about changes in your lifestyle and avoid stress, maintain sleep hygiene, avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol and doing some physical activity will help control your stress levels.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy- In this, the therapist listens to the individual’s problems, feelings, fears and thoughts and understands the same. Then would help them confront the anxiety and handle the same in a controllable way. This is important to align the same with medication to avoid a threat to one’s life.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy- A person needs to avoid negative thoughts on oneself like the feeling of hopelessness and stop controlling things. Has to build the acceptance behavior where s/he needs to be non-judgemental on people and situations.
- Intolerance of uncertainty therapy- IUT teaches the power of acceptance where one learns to stand alone and cope up with situations that happen all of a sudden and control their reactions. This therapy treatment would include – consciousness of worry, problem-solving, re-evaluation of worry, realizing uncertainty. It is seen that results are effective with continuous follow up.
- Motivational Interviewing- This treatment with make individuals accept change by the process of questions and answers, change talks and talking about the positives and negatives of the change. Use psychological questionnaires to help determine a diagnosis.
What are Medications for GAD?
GAD Medicines: Medications should be a part of the treatment along with the therapy taken. The most effective medicines are-
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (80%) follow by
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (49%)
- Pregabalin and gabapentin (35%)
There are other medicines also that are suggested with the similar kind of components present in the medicines as of these.
It is important to get it treated as you find out any of the similar kind of symptoms. Consult your doctor and he would want to understand more about your symptoms and the history behind the same, he might suggest you some physical exams to look for anxiety levels and in case required would also ask to get some blood tests done. Your mental health is your biggest earing and you need to be very aware of the same. It is also advised to practice mindfulness.
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