What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?
If you grew up with a parent who lived with some form of Anxiety, statistically, you are five times more likely to experience Anxiety yourself. Anxiety takes on many symptoms and is categorised into groups which include: Obsessive disorder, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and the one we will be discussing today, Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This particular Anxiety can be hard to distinguish from the other disorders because the language we use to describe our ‘worries’ may be untrained, or maybe the social situations we find ourselves in don’t allow for such an expression of emotion.
Experiencing occasional feelings of Anxiety is perfectly normal throughout life. However, people with an anxiety disorder frequently have an intense, excessive and persistent fear about everyday situations. These episodes can manifest and express them in ‘waves’ of fear and emotion, making it harder to pinpoint what exactly causes these feelings to arise in the first place. In turn, this makes dealing with Anxiety exceptionally difficult to control because daily tasks can be interrupted if you are not equipped with the techniques to manage these thoughts. These thoughts may not necessarily be proportional to the perceived danger. At Efficacy, we can differentiate between a healthy level of Anxiety about a job interview, for example, versus an overall feeling of dread about menial tasks.
Symptoms for Generalised Anxiety Disorder can start very early in childhood, and usually begin to express symptoms in adolescence. By nature, this is a difficult time in any individual’s life, so it can be hard to diagnose without a professional opinion. As a result, Anxiety can be left untreated for many years, with the individual seemingly healthy for a while. Still, occasionally, the individual may go through depressive spells they take to be part of their personality. Later in adulthood, the disorder can reach a heightened level of fear as the techniques for moderating these fears has been left unrecognised and ignored. It is interesting to note that most people who are seeking treatment for anxiety fall between the ages of 29-35.
Most recent studies indicate that around 3 million people in the United Kingdom are living with one or a combination of anxiety disorders.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is not only about the pain it inflicts on the mind, which includes:
- A sense of dread
- Feeling constantly on edge
- Difficulty concentrating
But physically, GAD can have a debilitating effect on the body too. Many people suffering from this disorder also describe the physical pain it causes, which include:
- a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- muscle aches and tension.
- trembling or shaking.
- dry mouth.
- excessive sweating.
- shortness of breath
With such a large portion of the population experiencing these symptoms, it is important to know there is always help available.
Efficacy therapists understand and acknowledge that the effects of Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be so embedded in our daily existence that we don’t even realise when it takes over parts of our lives. By taking the lead and using techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, we are not only showing the younger generations that mental health needs to be taken seriously, but we are also giving them the tools to break the cycle of Anxiety within families.
We offer online and over the phone appointments to allow you to be as comfortable and open as possible when talking to one of our therapists. Please phone us on 020 3795 8718 and speak with a qualified CBT professional near you.