Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Can Take Over Your Life


It is useful to understand the difference between

anxiety and fear–not so easy since they both feel exactly

the same.  Anxiety is what you feel when you’re worried that

the bogeyman might jump out of the bushes and grab you.  Fear

is what you feel when he actually does.

Fear is a life-preserving emotion that makes you ready

for fight or flight.  Anxiety is a life-destroying emotion

that can cripple your initiative, prevent rejuvenating rest

and worry you to death.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not the same as Panic

Disorder in which the feeling of fear becomes briefly intense

and then subsides.  Nor is it the same as a phobia in which

the focus of anxiety is a specific thing or situation.

Nor, again, is it the same as Adjustment Disorder with

Anxiety which results from an identifiable stressor event and

begins to resolve itself once the stressor is removed.

Some people tend to worry more than others.  This is not

necessarily a disorder if it doesn’t disrupt your life too

much.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder definitely disrupts your

life and probably those of the people around you.

If your excessive worrying is accompanied by other

symptoms such as irritability, muscle tension, sleep

disturbance, fatigue, poor concentration or restlessness you

could have GAD.  If you have felt these or similar symptoms

for six months or more, much or all of the time, not just

during panic attacks and not in response to a real and

frightening situation then you, by definition, have GAD.

Living in a state of hypervigilance is unnerving to say

the least.  In short order you become depleted, even

exhausted.  Your body gets worn out and your immune system is

weakened.  Inner peace is nonexistent.  You need help!

Now for the good news.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder is

very treatable.  Some combination of psychotherapy, stress

management techniques and medication will most likely help

you to calm down and get your life under control again.

Your family physician can help you decide whether you

ought to seek the help of a mental health specialist.




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