Life is not always a dance on roses, something that those who suffer from GAD – generalized anxiety syndrome can often sign off on.
Feeling anxious and anxious about various situations in life is something that will surely affect everyone at some point in life and that we have all known and need not be related to any diagnosis.
Symptoms that, on the other hand, can be directly related to Generalized Anxiety Syndrome (GAD) are if you have been going for a long time and have a serious concern, that your body has been affected and you feel tired, maybe have problems with your stomach or even heart palpitations? Your concerns may be so great that you can’t actually handle everyday life. Then it may be that you have GAD and should of course be able to get help.
GAD and diagnosis
You probably know or have heard of obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia and more. All of these have a clear phobia that is linked to one or more specific situations/factors.
Previously, there was no clear diagnosis for those who suffered from recurrent anxiety for an extended period, an anxiety that is not necessarily triggered by specific situations in existence but rather is constant and affects the entire existence. The anxiety is many times so strong that it also affects muscles and joints (you tense), the stomach (stress) and generally adversely affects physical health.
In 1980, a new concept was introduced for this type of anxiety, General Anxiety Disorder or in American Generalized Anxiety Syndrome. In USA as well as abroad we simply shorten this GAD. GAD usually shows up as early as childhood or adolescence and women suffer more often than men. How do you know that you have generalized anxiety syndrome and not just “a little worried”?
Three simple questions you can ask yourself:
Am I worrying unnecessarily?
Do I have trouble controlling my anxiety?
Do I feel my anxiety in my body and/or mentally?
It is only at a doctor’s visit as a complete and accurate diagnosis can be made. Contact your health clinic to make an appointment or get more information.
What does GAD mean?
GAD often does not come as an individual diagnosis, but occurs together with other known mental illnesses (eg panic attacks, social phobia and depression, etc.). There are patients where GAD is the individual diagnosis but people with the diagnosis of GAD often have a background of past mental illness.
What then makes life difficult for me suffering from GAD? You are constantly recognizing that you constantly worry about what you encounter in life (finances, health, work, small things). The question is how much do you worry? Every day? Continuously? Always? This is where the difference comes in between those who are diagnosed with GAD or not. That the anxiety grows so large that life soon becomes unsustainable, that the anxiety takes over. What is typical of GAD is that the victim does not have one and the same thing to worry about, but constantly changes to something new to be worried about.
Everyone who has ever been tense and nervous about something knows that it can also affect the body physically. You get tensed, maybe even get sore muscles, until it’s over and you can relax (before a test, a wedding, a difficult decision or the like). If you imagine that feeling in the body – constantly, then you quickly get a picture of how the person who has GAD feels.
Being constant at the edge of the edge also affects the mood, often a small drop can cause the cup to run over. It also affects sleep and concentration, walking around and being constantly on full range.
Those who have GAD often walk around and ponder, circular reasoning that takes up much of the time and is usually of a negative nature. As mentioned earlier, people with GAD also tend to change their anxiety periodically, and then start a new cycle of anxiety that makes it difficult to break the behavior.
To seek help
It is common for those who have GAD to wait for help – partly because the problems themselves seem “normal” but also for causes such as shame and guilt, both in suspicion of mental illness or affected by the anxiety itself. When the person suffering from GAD seeks care, it is many times for other problems, physical, that may have arisen in combination with GAD. It may be that you eat poorly, sleep poorly, or exaggerate a lot, which in turn affects the body so badly that you have to visit a doctor.
Some common symptoms:
– Heart palpitations
– Stomach problem
– Muscle and joint pain
– Sleeping problems
– Concentration difficulties
Sometimes it can be difficult for the family member to understand the problem. Many times the surroundings can also be preoccupied with everyday worries and then not perceive that the person affected by GAD suffers from deeper mental disorders. What one can think of as a close relative is that if the problems do not cease, if new problems are constantly created or built and that the anxiety affects food, sleep and daily rhythm, then it is something more than just ordinary worry.
Seeking help is not something you should be ashamed of – it is often better to consult a doctor for a call than to constantly worry. Being able to receive support and treatment early provides more quality of life in the future.
GAD can be treated with drugs, KBT therapy and it is also investigated whether different forms of relaxation can help. Most often there is a so-called combination treatment of psychotherapy and drugs.
CBT – psychotherapy form based on the individual, how you look at yourself and your surroundings and reactions to different situations in life. A way of working that is based on concrete action and that can help those who suffer from GAD to feel better by getting tools to get through life.
medicaments – There are different types of drugs that are used in the treatment of GAD. Antidepressants are one example, drugs for the treatment of epilepsy another. The latter type has been shown to be effective as a mood stabilizer and is therefore also used in the treatment of GAD. It is important that you and your doctor are clear and open in the situations you are talking about if it feels like the treatment is working and how the drug is affecting you and your body. The goal is for you to get better from your treatment.
Combining treatment is as usual. This is done in order to (by means of drugs) dampen the unrest and get a working everyday life and at the same time tackle the problem (through KBT) and thereby obtain a long-term positive result. Learning yourself and your relatives more is also a step in the right direction as knowledge gives an increased understanding of the situation in which you are.
Follow-up of treatment
Because GAD is a long-term disease, no quick treatment can be found. By using KBT, you and the therapist will work for a long time to find ways for you as a patient to feel good. In combination with drug treatment, the long-term strategy is to become fearless and be able to handle their everyday lives.
When it comes to drug treatment, it is important that you as a patient receive optimal treatment. If you feel that you are not getting better or that there is a change, make another call with a treating doctor. Sometimes the dosage may need to be optimized or you may even need to change the preparation.
If you have started treatment, it is good to self-monitor, through a self-test, your treatment and see if it has given the desired effect. If you feel that the treatment has not, or that you are wondering about something, do not hesitate to contact the health care provider. Together you create the best conditions for a freer life without GAD.
Living with GAD – taking control
To release chronic anxiety, stress and anxiety over small things and be able to live your life the way you want – it deserves everyone. GAD is a long-term diagnosis where you go with a constant worry in the body, and the soul, which affects all life, life and the environment.
With the right form of treatment you can overcome the worry and find tools that take you over what has become an obstacle and give you control over your everyday life and your life.
For next-of-kin, it is important to pay attention to problems and changes, both physical and mental, while at the same time trying to support and listen. If you, as a relative, need to vent your own concerns and thoughts, there are organizations (for example, the American Anxiety Syndrome Society) where relatives from all over the country can turn to talk and get support, something that is often needed when living near someone who has long-term anxiety.
For you with GAD it is important to find a way to get out of your cycle of anxiety and anxiety in a good way. Treatment through care is one step, another to take care of oneself and find different ways to facilitate life. It can be about painting, writing or walking. Clear your thoughts. Reverse reasoning that feels impossible or tackle problems you didn’t think you could. Small steps are usually the easiest to take, and then run.
Often in connection with diagnoses, the motto applies to “learn to live with their illness”, with GAD rather to live without their illness. You have every right to be free from anxiety and worry, be able to live your life and manage your everyday life on your own terms, not your diagnostic conditions.