What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

While everyone worries from time to time, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) worry more days that not, for at least 6 months, and about a variety of things. Often people with GAD will say that they worry about “anything and everything”, whereas others have a hard time identifying what exactly they are worried about, but feel bothered by the painful sensations of anxiety. Sometimes people will not be able to pinpoint when the worrying started, as they have “always” felt anxious. Adults with GAD tend to report worrying about things like everyday tasks (e.g., household chores, being late for appointments) as well as the health of family members, finances, and job responsibilities. Children with GAD tend to worry excessively about being competent or good enough at performance-related tasks.

Signs and Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Excessive anxiety and worrying about a number of different things, thinking “what if ___ happens?”
  • Feeling restless keyed up or on edge
  • Feeling tired or exhausted easily
  • Trouble concentrating on tasks due to worrying
  • Finding your mind going blank
  • Feeling irritable
  • Muscle tension (e.g., trembling, twitching, feeling shaky, muscle aches and soreness)
  • Trouble sleeping (trouble falling or staying asleep, restlessness, unsatisfying sleep)
  • Having associated stress conditions (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome, headaches)
  • Somatic symptoms (e.g., sweating, nausea, diarrhea, exaggerated startle response)
  • Fear taking a break or relaxing because that’s when the worrying starts
  • Difficulty tolerating uncertainty

“My worries are real. Anyone would worry about that.”

Have you tried to convince yourself (or others!) that your worries are reasonable?  Do you find it hard to imagine a life without worrying? Maybe at some level you want to let things go, but you’re worried that if you stop worrying “something bad will happen.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.  We’re experts at helping you turn things around.

Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder can help you to:

  • More effectively cope with stressful life events
  • Let go of your worries, and be more fully present in the current moment
  • Problem-solve what you can, and let go of what is out of your control
  • Spend less time worrying and more time doing activities that are important to you
  • Move towards who and what is important to you, even when you feel anxious
  • Stop asking loved ones for reassurance, and have more confidence in yourself

 

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