What is General Anxiety Disorder?
Put simply, General Anxiety Disorder (“GAD”) is essentially worrying about anything and everything. If you feel anxious about a whole range of issues rather than a specific issue or event, its likely that you are suffering with GAD. For most people, their anxiety is far greater than the actual situation or future event warrants. It is almost always accompanied with the usual unwanted physical symptoms which come with anxiety, including (some or all of the following) a tightness in the chest, feeling hot or cold, sweating, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping and the associated fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea and/or shaking physically.
GAD is often a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues and for this reason it’s cycle is perpetuated. People with GAD usually feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another surfaces about a different issue. It is an on-going battle to find some inner peace and can leave sufferers irritable, short-tempered and exhausted both physically and mentally,
GAD affects sufferers both psychologically and physically and, if untreated, it can have a profound effect on the sufferer and can sometimes lead to the onset of more serious mental and physical health issues.
What are the symptoms associated with GAD?
People with GAD usually experience significant and irrational emotional and psychological distress in a variety of situations or simply in relation to certain thoughts. They may experience a range of cognitive and physical symptoms as they become anxious. These may be particularly intense, not very intense, or more intense when certain thoughts or situations are encountered. The symptoms experience, broadly speaking include those that are associated with many anxiety related disorders. They might include (but are not limited to) the following:
- feeling hot, blushing or sweating;
- feeling nauseas (or feeling as though the stomach is churning or has butterflies);
- dry mouth;
- heart racing or palpitations;
- tightness in chest;
- feeling faint;
- shaky hands;
- facial freezing or tension;
- grinding the teeth;
- urgency to use the toilet;
- inability to think straight (or mind goes blank);
- thoughts racing;
- stumbling over words;
- inability to concentrate or recall things from short term memory;
- becoming easily distracted or confused;
- an overwhelming urge to cry; and
- being self-critical.
This list is certainly not a complete list of symptoms – other feelings can and have been associated with social anxiety as well. Perhaps most commonly, people who experience SAD often report having a constant feeling of intense and overpowering anxiety which makes them feel unable to cope with certain thoughts, feelings or situations or which make them want to avoid completely or escape certain thoughts, feelings or situations. People who suffer with GAD are often very capable of seeing that their anxiety is irrational but this is insufficient to make them feel able to cope with their thoughts or the anxiety inducing situation or face their fears. Often, people with GAD engage in a variety of safety seeking behaviours to try to avoid or disguise their discomfort.
The good news is that you can learn to overcome GAD! Research and clinical evidence alike indicate that comprehensive cognitive-behavioral therapy, together with hypnotherapy can produce permanent changes in people’s lives, equipping them with the tools ans skills they need to overcome their social anxiety.