Anxiety is a normal human emotion that we all experience at some point.
These feelings of worry or nervousness are often unwelcome and, for some of us, can hamper how we live our lives.
As frustrating as anxiety can be, though, it’s a necessary emotion as it sets off our internal alarm system. For our ancestors, anxiety meant the difference between staying safe or falling victim to the harsh elements of their era. Today, it is still what kicks in our “fight or flight” response when we think we may be in danger. Without anxiety, we would be more vulnerable, so, in some ways it helps protect us.
However, when anxiety warns of us danger when there is no actual threat, it becomes unhelpful. This is especially true when it starts to impede how we want to live our lives. It is at this point – when fear is unfounded and it affects daily life – that anxiety becomes a disorder.
ANXIETY DISORDERS – UNDERSTAND THE FACTS
Nearly 20 per cent of American adults – about 42 million people – live with anxiety disorders. These can take on several forms, including chronic worry, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, phobias and panic.
People usually seek help from a therapist when anxiety interferes with their day-to-day lives, making it difficult to go to school or work, form satisfying relationships or enjoy hobbies and leisure activities.
Hundreds of research studies have shown Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps with anxiety disorders.
This therapy will educate you on the nature of anxiety and help you identify and adjust unhelpful thought patterns. Part of the treatment also includes exposure therapy, which can be incredibly effective. Through this, we help you learn how to have different outcomes when facing the trigger for your fears or anxiety.
WHAT IS GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER?
Life can occasionally present us with challenges. Things don’t always go as we expect in life. There are times when life events lead to loss, disappointment, and struggle. Unfortunate things happen to everyone from time-to-time. This is a fact of life. For some, excessive worry about “bad things” happening becomes overwhelming.
People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) focus attention on the potential of bad things happening to them or loved ones. The worry becomes totally encompassing as they look for signs that things won’t go well. They frequently overthink possibilities and anticipate the worst outcome. People with GAD are often labeled “worriers”. The excessive worry and anticipation of negative outcomes interfere with living a productive life.
WHAT DO PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT?
Some of the typical things that people with GAD worry about pertaining to themselves and their loved ones include:
- Loss of employment
- Death or injury
- Financial hardship
- Illness and health decline
- Relationship conflict
- Natural disaster
- Falling victim to attack or crime
- Arriving late for events
GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER SYMPTOMS
- Leads to relationship discord
- Fear of making mistakes and indecision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased tension, stress, and irritability
- Somatic complaints
- Lack of attention and focus
- Need for reassurance