Most people experience feelings of anxiety related phobias before an important event like a major test, a job interview or a first date. Anxiety serves several useful purposes such as warning us of danger, helping us be more alert and motivates us to take action. In fact, a little anxiety can help us perform better.
But if you have an anxiety disorder, the normally helpful emotion can keep you from coping and can interfere with healthy everyday functioning. Although there are several types of anxiety disorders, the most common and perhaps least recognized is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Have you ever known anyone who worried about everything – money, health, family, work, even when there is no apparent reason to be concerned. This worry goes beyond the usual concerns of daily life. The time spent worrying is often greater than the time spent problem solving. Can you imagine the tension this person must feel?
People with GAD can’t seem to shake their concerns, even when they realize their anxiety is more intense than is warranted by the situation. People with GAD also seem unable to relax and frequently have trouble sleeping. They always seem to expect the worst. Often the fears and worries are accompanied by physical symptoms of fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headaches, gastro- intestinal disorders and heart palpitations. Depression often accompanies anxiety disorders.
GAD comes on gradually, usually in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood. It is diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worrying excessively about several everyday routine life events and activities. Usually the impairment associated with GAD is mild and people are able to function socially and at work. However, if severe, the disorder can be very debilitating, making it difficult to function in every day life.
If you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, it is important to have a complete medical evaluation or go with anxiety disorders therapy to rule out any medical causes for the physical symptoms. Effective treatment for anxiety disorders frequently involves a combination of medication and counseling.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been proven to be a successful treatment for anxiety disorders, and through counseling you will learn the tools to help you manage anxiety, enabling you to enjoy life fully.