Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Overview

When ‘stress overload? meets the person that is prone to worry, trouble is inevitable. If this condition goes on for over six months and is serious enough to cause multiple symptoms, it is “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” or GAD. Milder or briefer episodes are referred to as Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety. If stressors are not identified or not clearly excessive, the stress is
Anxiety NOS (not otherwise specified).
Unfortunately, many people either ignore the earliest warning signs of stress overload, or self-treat with substances such as alcohol and smoking. (Stress is the number one reason smokers give for not being able to quit). Another very common early response is to see a primary care doctor for one or two of the symptoms. A visit to the doctor will typically get the symptoms treated without uncovering the main problem that is causing symptoms.
Successful treatment can be pinpointed by asking a few simple questions:
• What are the current stressors in the person’s life?
• Are there too many changes, too many conflicts?
• Can the stressors be slowed down or resolved?
• Can stress management be improved by more relaxation or “healthy escapism” instead of TV all night or doing dreaded exercising that causes more pressure and stress?
• Can worry habits be changed?
• Would counseling be helpful?
If stress can’t be managed or a healthy state achieved, medication, at least short-term can protect your health and improve quality of life.

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