What is it?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a condition in which sufferers experience sustained, abnormal levels of anxiety on a daily basis. The condition affects about 1 in 50 people at some stage and is twice as common in women than in men. Those with GAD will often find that they experience stress and worry which is out of proportion to their situation, stress which persists even after a situation is resolved, and even stress for no apparent reason.
GAD can make everyday tasks such as preparing a meal or deciding what to wear an overwhelming ordeal. That said, the condition occurs with a spectrum of intensity: some experience GAD as a niggling background worry, while others confess that it prevents them from being able to work.
As well as high levels of anxiety and stress, sufferers of GAD often experience nausea, high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia or broken sleep, trembling, sweating, restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, chest pain and difficulty concentrating.
The two main routes for treating GAD are counselling and anti-anxiety drugs, although these are often used in unison. GAD sufferers benefit from treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Anxiety Management classes or even self-help books. These therapies revolve mostly around stress relief and how to recognise and combat unnecessary anxiety when it arises. In terms of drugs, there is a variety of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medicines available, which differ slightly in effectiveness and side effects. Of course, a nice massage or bubble bath wouldn’t hurt either!
Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) - Advice on various anti-anxiety treatments.
National Association of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists (NACBT - All you need to know about cognitive behavioral therapy.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - Definitive guide to Mental Health Medications.
HELPGUIDE.ORG - Website with general information and advice regarding GAD, as well as personal experiences shared by those with the condition.