Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment Essay

Submitted By hwinston31
Words: 681
Pages: 3

Heather Winston
Assignment #1 – Psychiatric Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Aging and Mental Health
September 24, 2012

Generalized anxiety disorder, otherwise known as GAD, is an illness in which an individual is in a constant state of worry and fear. It is characterized by chronic, unrealistic, and exaggerated feelings of worry and tension. It can be described as six months or more of persistent, amplified fear that is unfounded or much more severe than the normal anxiety most people experience. There is no event that causes it and no particular reason why the sufferer feels anxious. It is usually unaccompanied by panic attacks, phobias, or obsessions. People with GAD tend to fret excessively about certain people or situations, such as family members, their health or their job, and to overreact to situations, although the source of worry is not always evident. One simply experiences persistent anxiety without the complications of other anxiety disorders.
They appear to focus on all the what-ifs in life and cannot seem to turn their brain off. It occurs more often in women than men and tends to be hereditary. While most people experience some type of stress, the anxiety seems to be constant with individuals with this problem. You find it difficult to have any control over much of your worrying. The intensity and frequency of the worrying are always out of proportion to the actual likelihood of the feared events actually occurring.
There are actual physical symptoms associated with this disease that include muscle tension and being easily fatigued. Trouble concentrating is a major complaint with the inability to focus on a specific topic and the feeling of the mind going blank or feeling as though your memory is declining. They have a hard time relaxing and falling or staying asleep. Difficulty sleeping is very common to where a person has trouble getting or falling asleep or waking up several times throughout the night. Sleep disturbances contributes a lot to feeling fatigued, having poor mental concentration, and excessive irritability.
There are numerous methods of treatment that when used collectively can be very effective in reducing a person’s symptoms. For severe cases, antidepressant medication, specifically SSRI’s, along with benzodiazepines are prescribed to help control the intensity of anxiety. Also, relaxation and breathing techniques are shown to be highly effective when used on a regular basis. People are also recommended to practice cognitive behavioral therapy. This approach begins with education about the nature of this disorder. Fearful self-talk is identified and challenged to a more realistic way of thinking. One should also make lifestyle and…