Generalized Anxiety Disorder And Its Treatmnet

Everyone has experienced the feeling of being anxious at some point in their life. People who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) worry excessively about certain aspects of their life including family, health, money, or work. Their worry is so excessive they most often anticipate disaster. People with GAD are unable to let go of their concerns, although they often know their anxiety is unwarranted. GAD can lead to sleeping difficulties such as trouble falling and staying asleep. Individuals with GAD may also have a difficult time concentrating, increased fatigue, and more likely to suffer from depression. Worries can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as nausea, feeling like there is a lump in the throat, headaches, sweats, hot flashes, headaches, irritability, and feeling lightheaded or short of breath. GAD can develop at any point in someone's life. However, the cycle usually begins in childhood and middle-age.

GAD can affect a person's self-image and social development by constantly being in a state of worry and questioning oneself. They may also have having difficulty socializing due to fear of judgment and social acceptance. Some examples of this include excessive fear about pleasing others, concerns of dressing appropriately, and an extreme sensitivity to others opinions of themself. These negative thoughts can have a large impact on one's self-worth leading to lower self-esteem. Constant worrying and fear of imperfection can even drive others away as described in the case study possibly even leading to having less friends. In contrast, a person with a low level of anxiety would be more relaxed. A person without GAD would more likely be able to go with the flow and likely attract more friends. They would be less preoccupied with others thoughts or possible judgements.

The GLAD study (Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression) performed by Kingston College in London recruited over 40,000 people who have suffered from anxiety or depression. This study concluded the risk for both anxiety and depression were 30-40% genetic and 60-70% due to environmental factors. Both states were overlapped with negative effects, impaired cognitive stressful life events, and share a biological/genetic diathesis. The research also found sixty-six genetic links to anxiety and depression disorder. Environmental factors that were found to have correlation to depression and anxiety include excessive stress at home or work, poor diet, past traumatic events, or lack of support system. The research also found that anxiety is much more future-oriented whereas depression is past-oriented. This means that anxiety is more fixated on possible events in the future whereas depression is preoccupied with past experiences. The research will help address the way in which environment and genes act together and help create new treatment.

I myself have experienced symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder and I have never opted for medication. I feel that medications may alleviate the present symptoms to help you manage but they do not work towards fixing the root of the problem. I think it is a better long-term plan to get psychotherapy to understand why a person such as myself may feel this way, help manage the symptoms when they occur, and to help prevent them from flaring. I also fear becoming addicted to medications as many anxiolytics are habit forming. Many insurance companies do not cover psychotherapy or are charging an extraordinary amount out-of-pocket compared to medications. Even still, I would prefer psychotherapy to help me understand the moods, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of my condition. My goal would be to learn to control and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills learned from therapy despite its potential cost. However, if my symptoms became unmanageable, I would consider a combination of both medication management and psychotherapy.

In conclusion, treatment of anxiety disorders is grounded in research by experts from diverse fields with a solid scientific foundation. Research has investigated psychological, biological, and social factors that contribute to anxiety disorder leading to the development of various treatments that have resulted to be highly effective in allowing people to regain their well-being. The future stays hopeful for the individuals who battle with GAD. We are hopeful that progression in the treatment of GAD will keep on exceeding our expectations and continue to alleviate the burden to the individuals and families influenced by this disorder.

16 August 2021
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