If one comes to think about it, almost every fifth person we come across tends to have complaints about which he or she tends to worry. In fact, this tendency to worry can often be excessive, and yet not seem like a cause of concern to many of us. However, being worried perpetually is likely to increase the probability of a constant cribbing and complaining, which could, in turn, become exhausting and lead to significant interference in the individual’s daily functioning.
Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder
It is important to remember that worrying is a normal as well as necessary part of our lives. Research has shown that an optimum level of anxiety is actually helpful in keeping people on their toes, focusing their efforts and helping their performance. Imagine if there were no worry about exams, there would be a very small likelihood of students working hard to study and perform well. However, while everyone does tend to get anxious at some time or the other during their lifetime, it is when the person’s worries and fears become so persistent and overwhelming that they begin to interfere with the person’s ability to function and relax, that could be labelled as an anxiety disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Such people are extremely worried about everything in their life, even if there is little or no reason to worry. They are very anxious about just getting through the day. Having this disorder means always anticipating disaster, and often the source of the worry is hard to pinpoint.
Identifying Signs and Symptoms
Since worrying is one of the most common signs to be observed, it is important to be peruse through the other distinguishing features of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder in order to avoid a misdiagnosis of the same:
- Physical manifestations of anxiety, including restlessness, breathlessness, giddiness, tingling sensations, gastrointestinal complaints, etc. Difficulty in attention and concentration, forgetfulness, or tendency to get distracted easily
- Feeling of losing control, fear of going crazy or dying
- Constant worrying or rumination
- Low self-esteem
- All or none (Black or white) thinking
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Disturbed sleep
- Avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations
- Seeking reassurance
- Seeking Help and Treatment
Anxiety is treatable, and professional help is irreplaceable. Such recurrence of anxiety can be severely debilitating for a person’s personal, social as well as occupational functioning and can lead to a state of burnout and exhaustion, making the individual more vulnerable to experience depressive or anxiety features. It is imperative to encourage a supportive environment for the earliest identification and adequate psychiatric and psychological intervention.
Mounting evidence indicates the effectiveness of using psychological approaches in significantly reducing the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Aiming at providing relaxation techniques, such approaches also help the individual boost his/her confidence and self-esteem, and encourage the person to face the anxiety-provoking situations. Further, a combination of medications and psychological approaches, social skills and assertiveness training could help regulate the production of neurotransmitters in the brain which contribute to anxiety, while also developing more adaptive coping mechanisms.
What is necessary to realize is that the person experiences these physical symptoms as a manifestation of their underlying anxiety, and these physical manifestations are not something to get scared about, as that in itself would make the person more anxious, thereby creating a vicious cycle of increasing the intensity and frequency of the anxiety symptoms. It is only once the anxiety symptoms themselves are not feared, that the person would be able to work on overcoming the anxiety.