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Generalized Anxiety

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating generalized anxiety that includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since anxiety disorders can affect every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about various things. People with GAD worry about things in which they can and can’t control, including health, family, work, or other aspects of their life. They may irrationally worry about things, not in their control, or expect the worst even when there is no reason for concern. GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it hard to control worry on more days than not in six months, with three or more of the symptoms. These symptoms include:
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge
  • Feeling a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) issues
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation in severe cases), sweating, and/or trembling
  • Increased heart rate
With GAD, the anxiety is not tied to a specific event or stressor that then goes away after the trigger. With this anxiety disorder, it usually affects the person daily and sometimes even seemingly randomly. 
GAD Facts
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), about 3.1 percent of the U.S. population has GAD, or about 6.8 million people, in any given year. Only 43 percent receive treatment, and women are twice as likely to be affected as men. The disorder usually comes on over time with an increased risk beginning in early childhood to middle-age. Even though there is no direct cause of GAD, researchers suggest it could have biological factors, or be influenced by family background or life experiences—especially traumatic events.  GAD often co-occurs with major depression or bipolar disorder and can cause headaches, eating disorders, phobias, sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Adult ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, BDD (body dysmorphic disorder, chronic pain, stress, and fibromyalgia.                                                                                                          For older adults, GAD is the most common anxiety disorder among this age group, mainly due to acute illness or falls. Children are affected by GAD, with adolescents having a 32 percent lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders, with females more affected than males. (38% to 26%) Untreated anxiety can result in a higher risk of poor school performance, substance abuse, and missing out on important social experiences. Anxiety disorders can also co-occur with other disorders, including:
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • ADHD
If the disorder is severe, it can result in school avoidance or refusal to attend, agoraphobia (fear of public spaces), and isolation. 
GAD Treatment
GAD is treatable, and the vast majority of sufferers can get help from professional care. Several treatment modalities include therapy, medication, complementary and alternative treatment, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. (TMS) If GAD interferes with daily life, getting help from a treatment center can help manage the symptoms and provide tools to help cope with the condition.