Generalized Anxiety Disorder
San Jose Counseling and Psychotherapy
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a condition characterized by “free floating” anxiety or apprehension.
The main symptom is the almost constant presence of worry or tension, even when there is little or no cause.
Worries seem to float from one problem to another, such as family or relationship problems, work issues, money, health, and other problems. Fortunately, anxiety therapycan help.
GAD sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it while others don’t. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety.
By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.
Signs and Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with GAD can’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants.
They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include the following:
- Muscle tension
- Muscle aches
- Difficulty swallowing
- Having to go to the bathroom frequently
- Feeling out of breath
- Hot flashes
The Onset of GAD
GAD develops slowly. It often starts during the teen years or young adulthood.
Symptoms may get better or worse at different times, and often are worse during times of stress.
Often, the only way people can develop better coping skills is with anxiety treatment.
When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can function socially and hold down a job.
Although they don’t avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder, people with GAD can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe.
Often people go to the doctor be be sure that another physical problem isn’t causing the symptoms. The doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist. GAD is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.
Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy is especially useful for treating GAD. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and worried.
Psychotherapy generally includes a number of different approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral, Psychodynamic, and Transpersonal. As a psychotherapist experienced in treating this type of anxiety, I focus on helping my client to feel better as quickly as possible in a safe and supportive environment.