Anxiety is an issue that can quite literally happen to anyone during select stressful situations, but in some instances, it can become a much greater issue when it turns into a generalized anxiety disorder and begins infesting into your daily routines and activities. It can occur at very sudden moments even when you’re feeling perfectly normal during the time, when it comes to the anxiety attacks themselves. A few of the symptoms that are associated with generalized anxiety directly from the DSM 5 include the constant presence of anxiety or worry about multiple topics, activities, events, etc. The worrying is also very difficult to control. Skewed concentration, easy irritability, edginess or restlessness are usually symptoms associated as well with this type of anxiety disorder. The constant and almost nonending anxiety about the simplest of events is not something easy to deal with and usually persists for over the span of 6 months. If the symptoms are present for that amount of time, it’s time to see a psychology specialist.Order now
As for the causes it can range anywhere from genetics to your social influence while being raised and even your brain chemistry. For example, if a certain number of genetic markers are passed down from family members GAD is more likely to come into play. Some studies have shown that if a first degree relative has GAD it’s more likely to pass into offspring. First degree relatives include parents, siblings and children. Women are the most likely to suffer with GAD, they’re twice as likely to be impacted. GAD comes on slowly but surely over time, usually most visible between childhood and middle age.
Another cause can be connected to life experiences. One is having experienced a trauma of some sort. Over the top mental abuse, abandonment, constant isolation, neglect, the death of a loved on etc. can contribute. When going through hard situations especially at a younger age of adolescence, it can obviously leave a mental mark and cause future issues of anxiety with similar situations. Many people who struggle with GAD don’t know how to appropriately respond in certain stressful or over the top situations and usually fall straight into an anxiety attack. It’s also difficult for them to express their true concerns and feelings with others due to barely being able to cope with the issues themselves, it’s not an easy subject to bring up even with the people you’re close to in certain scenarios.
Due to that reason, it takes quite a period before someone seeks a true medical professional to help with bad anxiety. Some behavioral scientists believe that anxiety could be a learned behavior, for example if you have a parent who demonstrates anxious behavior through your childhood and early adult age, it could quite easily transfer over to yourself. We learn from those that are close to us personally, how to handle challenges and stressful situations. With a poor model figure, you tend to pick up some negative attributes throughout life.
The structure of your brain and its chemistry also plays a pretty big role with anxiety. The amygdala is in our limbic system and processes our automatic fear responses and controls the assimilation of memory and emotions. The amygdala is also directly involved with more anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are however some patterns of brain function that have shown a direct connection to GAD in patients. The amount of gray matter present in your brain is also another factor, specifically having a relation to anxiety and mood disorders. An extra amount of gray matter in certain locations of the brain have been consistently found in patients with GAD. One part of the brain that is known as the right putamen can have increased volume of gray matter, and this is once again correlated directly with GAD patients. Some researchers have come to learn that a larger amount of gray matter in the right putamen was linked with child maltreatment. What that means is, the more a child is maltreated, the greater the possibility of more gray matter buildup in that area of the brain. A few more causes without going to deep into it can stem from relationship issues, too much caffeine and job stress can all lead to GAD factors with enough time.
So now to dive a bit into actual treatment issues, there’s quite a few options you can take. The overall big picture takes place with psychotherapy, there’s just many specific types that can help. One of the most common is cognitive behavioral therapy which is highly associated with a big reduction in the need for medication with many patients. It focuses on shorter lengths of time and centers its attention on the interaction between the conscious mind and its feelings, thoughts, and main behaviors that trigger anxiety. ACT is similar and is more focused around talk therapy. The main goal with this treatment is to bring down control anxious thoughts or uncomfortable sensations and expand involvement in more meaningful extracurricular activities that math with healthier life values.
The two other types that are a bit less common include psychodynamic psychotherapy and interpersonal psychotherapy. Psychodynamic is based around the thoughts or emotions that are far outside our pure consciousness, basically things that are external of our awareness, can eventually lead to inner conflict and exhibit anxiety. Interpersonal is again time limited and very straightforward treatment on the basis that symptoms may be created or prolonged by problems in a relationship, and with resolving those issues it’s possible to reduce those symptoms. The last and usually last resort to help cope or get through GAD is with medication. These medications help control anxiety by interacting with brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Some of these medications can completely block the absorption or even increase the activity of multiple brain chemicals. Without getting too specific the main types of broad medication types are antidepressants, benzodiazepines, azapirones, antipsychotic and anticonvulsant medications. There’s a huge market from older to newer types of medication that be prescribed by medical professionals.
Yes, there’s plenty of treatment you can get including counseling and medication, but those can only help you to a certain point. Being able to cope with anxiety on your own with certain techniques and lots of practice will really pay off in the long run. The symptoms you’ll mostly have to deal with both mentally and physically include body aches, muscle tension, constant worry and intrusive thoughts quite frequently. With certain styles of coping methods, it’s very possible to manage all of them. It’s very important to become involved in activities outside of your normal comfort zone to open yourself up emotionally. That could range from a club of some kind in school to taking a debate or public speaking course to increase self-confidence and open a more social aspect into your life. It also gives us that sense of belonging and allows you to feel purposeful, participation is key. Talking with someone about your daily challenges with anxiety is another great option. Of course, they should be somewhat close and trusted. The key is to open up completely about your struggles without being afraid to express your true feelings or frustrations. It can become mutually beneficial since both of you can express your issues back and fourth to perhaps find common ground and ways to maybe deal with it.
Another common thing to do is find a support system. It’s possible to find these in-person and online and offer a lot of help. A vast community of people you relate to you can offer a ton of tips or suggestions for coping strategies. The last social strategy is more for self-use. It’s important to remember that laughter and enjoyment will always boost your mood up and make you an overall more cheerful person. You can find humor in so many things such as television, online, books, etc. Having those moments of fun can remind you that anxiety isn’t the main factor in your life.
Social coping is very useful, but there’s many emotional coping strategies you can practice that’d help even more. These can help reduce the constant worries, intrusive thoughts, uncertainty, being constantly overwhelmed, etc. The most widely known is mindfulness. Things such as deep breathing can help slow down the anxiousness of thoughts and emotions. It helps you be more in the moment or present opposed to being so focused on possible future events and how to prepare for them. As you get deeper into your practicing of controlling anxiety, it’s usually helpful to try and pay attention to what situations trigger your anxiety. It’s not a guarantee that figuring out the triggers will get rid of your anxiety, but it will help you gain some clarity and with that you can take a step forward into managing your stress in those specific situations. The last 2 emotional coping strategies to help are practicing acceptance and trying to keep a positive attitude.
Remembering that anxiety isn’t a factor in your life due to a flaw of some sort, but usually because of things like genetics, family history, life experiences and neurobiology can at times give you a bit of fresh air. Tolerating your emotions can improve your overall emotional health and is a step in the right direction. Lastly is always trying to keep that positive attitude in place. It’s important to know that improvements will come through time if you find those proper strategies that work well for you. Just stay closely connected to those you trust and remain positive.
The last few strategies are more practical and apply more commonly to the average population, they’re a guideline on mostly how to stay healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. Eating well and remaining on a healthy diet will always help keep your mind and body healthy. Try staying away from those processed foods and sugary snacks. Remaining active and exercising with a routine will obviously help and it’s a great natural way to boost endorphins while relieving tension from our bodies. Keep a consistent schedule. Getting the right amount of sleep, which is currently stated as at least 7 hours minimum a night is important. Having a proper nighttime routine will help you relax and prepare for overall better-quality sleep. And finally, to wrap it up, going back to breathing. Shortness of breath with a tightened chest and muscle tension are very common with GAD/anxiety. We usually forget to breathe normally and take rapid, shallow breaths. Learning how to take steady abdominal breaths will help considerably.
So, living with GAD is in no way enjoyable and can mark a huge negative impact into yours and others lives. But the good news is that anxiety is something that can be dealt with, even with the worst scenarios through medical treatment and medication. Just remember that getting a professional involved that can put a plan of treatment into place is one of the most important steps. Their experience is invaluable.