Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Patricia C. Frank

Worry is one of the most debilitating things that you can do to yourself. It affects you physically as well as mentally, emotionally and psychologically. Worrying about things doesn’t solve them and doesn’t make them better. Taken to its extreme you might find yourself suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

GAD is characterized by uncontrollable and unrealistic worry that is persistent, intrusive, excessive and incapacitating to some degree. It is one of the most common disorders experienced in America.

When you worry your body is tense and aches. Your muscles are tight. You may have gastrointestinal problems and feel nauseas. You may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. You may be unable to relax and you may feel constantly on edge. You may not be able to concentrate or focus or be alone, by yourself. You may put things off because you feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

Symptom relief comes through relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation. Learn and practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This system involves systematically tensing then releasing all your muscles. Learn and practice breathing from your diaphragm. Learn and practice mindful meditation.

Learn how to comfort yourself with soothing thoughts and activities. Anxiety and worry are focused on “What if?” What if this happens or that happens? Your inability to tolerate uncertainty and unpredictability threatens and intensifies your concerns. Worry and anxiety are focused on the future and potential future dangers. You have to bring yourself back to the present moment. In this moment nothing dangerous is happening. Postpone thinking about those things that are making you feel anxious. Contain your anxiety. Set aside a small amount of time later on, but not before bed or sleep, as your worry time. Limit your time with people who raise your anxiety level. In addition to self-help techniques, some people may find it necessary to get professional treatment and medication.

Remember the things that you are worrying about rarely happen and rarely in the manner that you fear the most.

Patricia Frank is a Licensed Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305-788-4864.

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