Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
We all worry from time to time. It is a normal and natural response to stressful situations in life. For some individuals however, the amount that they worry on a daily basis goes far beyond “normal”. GAD results in relentless and extreme levels of worrying every single day, for months at a time (minimum 6 months).

We all worry from time to time. It is a normal and natural response to stressful situations in life. For some individuals however, the amount that they worry on a daily basis goes far beyond “normal”. GAD results in relentless and extreme levels of worrying every single day, for months at a time (minimum 6 months). For some, GAD can be a long-term battle resulting in disruptions to everyday activities. Furthermore, it is quite common for individuals with GAD to also experience other forms of anxiety or mental health struggles (ie. depression).

The types of worry will vary from person to person, however there are some common general themes across sufferers, including:

  • Performance or competency
    • oftentimes relating to school, sports or activities.
  • Improbable world or life events
    • ie. world catastrophes, untimely deaths, divorce, etc.
  • Everyday aspects of life
    • Ie. grocery shopping, being on time, driving, etc.

Physical Symptoms:

  • Feeling restless and fidgety
  • Emotionally and physically tired
  • Mood disturbances (ie. irritability)
  • Digestive disturbances (ie. nausea, diarrhea, IBS)
  • Muscle tension (often in neck and shoulders) or trembling
  • Trouble sleeping (falling asleep, waking up frequently, or unsatisfying sleep)

Common Characteristics (Beyond Worrying):

  • Perfectionism
  • Do not like uncertainty
  • Requires excessive reassurance
  • Information seeking or list making (ie. want to be educated on any subject before making a decision, always wanting to make lists)
  • Must be in control
  • Difficulty concentrating on a task or complain that their brain often feels foggy
  • Avoidance/procrastination

Remember, individuals who struggle with GAD experience overwhelming levels of anxiety towards various aspect of life; even things you may otherwise consider to be “insignificant”. Do the best you can to show them compassion. Recognize that what may be simple or easy for you, may very well seem impossible to them. Understanding what their major triggers are will help you with this. To learn more about this, click here.

Just like all other forms of anxiety, the intensity of their anxiety may go through highs and lows according to the day. This is why checking in with the individual whenever possible is so important. By understanding how they are truly feeling that day, you be more prepared on how best to support them. This is more than the seemingly automatic “hi, how are you” response us Canadians make to anyone we interact with. 


* Please note that NO information provided by Cam’s Kids Foundation is intended or implied to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content and information is for general information purposes only. Please speak to your health care practitioner regarding any questions you may have, or to confirm a diagnosis.

To learn more:

https://www.anxietycanada.com/adults/generalized-anxiety-disorder

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20360803

Uneasy Lives: Understanding anxiety disorders. (2000) Linda Bayer. The encyclopedia of psychological disorders . editors: Carol C. Nadelson, Claire E. Reinburg. Chelsea house publishers. philadelphia

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