Generalized Anxiety Disorder – GAD
Generalized anxiety disorder is describable as perspective thoughts that are uncontrollable on a certain event or activity. It 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
We can detect Generalized Anxiety Disorder when it has an existence of six or more months. This we can generally see in people who have been suffering from physical abuse or has a family history of the disorder. We can use GAD-7 to gauge the severity of the issue. It is advisable to see a doctor in case the problem is severe and have medicines like duloxetine, pregabalin, venlafaxine and escitalopram.
GAD is a global issue and women face it frequently as compared to men. About 4% of people globally are suffering from GAD at some point in their life.
GAD Risk Factors
Genetic Factors affecting GAD
Genes is one of the risky factors in GAD. Individuals having genes with medical history of GAD are more prone to develop it. People with issue in the previous history are more prone to suffer the same.
When benzodiazepines are used for the long term, then it can exacerbate the level of anxiety. We can observe that there is reduction in anxiety symptoms when we decrease the use of benzodiazepines. The same is the case with 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 noticeable that exposure to tobacco smoke affects the neurotransmitter systems, inflammation, oxidative stress and 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:
generalized anxiety disorder DSM 5 criteria
This criterion contains 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, tiredness feeling, low concentration, irritation, muscle pull, insomnia or breaks in sleep.
Symptoms may not occur:
- due to medication or any other drug consumption
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder ICD 10?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder ICD-10 criteri 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 pertaining 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 from GAD, inculcate the following habits:
- Include food items that are rich in Omega-3
- Practice exercise that helps your muscles to relax. Also, practice deep breathing and meditation.
- Avoid the intake of caffeine to keep yourself away from GAD.
- Avoidance of nicotine can also help reduce the risk of anxiety disorders.
What is GAD Treatment?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment: As we have understood the symptoms and reasons for GAD we should also be aware of the fact that if we do not treat it correctly, it can become chronic with time.
To take care of the same, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications prove 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 changes in your lifestyle and avoid stress, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Maintain sleep hygiene and do some physical activity which 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, he helps them to 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. She/he has to build the acceptance behavior where s/he needs to be non-judgmental 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 and realizing uncertainty. We can see that results are effective with continuous follow up.
- Motivational Interviewing: This treatment makes individuals to accept the change by the process of questions and answers, sharing and talking about the positives and negatives of the change. Use psychological questionnaires to help determine a diagnosis.
What are Medications for GAD oe Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
GAD Medicines: Medications should be a part of the treatment along with the therapy you take. 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 suggestable with the similar kind of components present in the medicines as of these.
The Take Away
It is important to treat it 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 the need be, would also ask to do some blood tests. Your mental health is your biggest earning and you need to be very aware of the same. It is also advised to practice mindfulness.
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