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Worry and anxiety are a normal part of everyday life. Under certain circumstances, anxiety is beneficial. It can motivate for change and can alert to danger. When worry, fears and anxiety are inferring with everyday life and become overwhelming, a more serious mental health issue may be at hand. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects millions of Americans and is one of the most common mental health diagnoses.GAD can be described as ongoing, exaggerated and worrisome thoughts that last at least six months. These thoughts can be about everyday life events and seem to have no basis in reality. People suffering with this disorder are not afraid of one thing, but rather of everything.
Physical symptoms can also accompany GAD. Individuals may experience fatigue, nausea, headaches, muscle tension, irritability and sleep disturbance. When these symptoms begin to interfere with a person’s physical, social and work life, it may be GAD and not just a normal level of worry.Anxiety Disorders, including GAD, are thought to have a biological origin. Chemicals in the brain can become influenced by stress, trauma and a heavy workload, causing the brain to produce these chemicals in an effort to keep up with daily stressors. Heredity can also play a part in the diagnosis of GAD. While studies have not yet proven a definite link, it is evident thus far that anxiety disorders can be traced within family trees. This disorder highly treatable. Medications such as antidepressants or SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptakeiInhibitors) are most commonly prescribed as treatment. These medications seek to re-balance the chemical output of the brain. Doctors perform a physical examination and take a thorough history to determine if medication is indicated.Psychotherapists can also assist individuals with anxiety disorders. Trained therapists may be able to help patients develop new strategies to cope with stressors and can provide education and understanding about different diagnoses. They can also help individuals recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that could be increasing the anxiety.While Generalized Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common mental illness diagnoses, it is highly treatable. Advancements in medications and therapy techniques provide a positive prognosis for those suffering from this disorder.
This post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
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