Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a form of exaggerated worry about everyday events without an obvious reason to be afraid.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) is characterized by excessive, exaggerated worry and anxiety about everyday life events. There is no obvious reason or logic for the associated anxiety or fear. GAD presents with a consistent expectation of disaster and the inability to stop worrying about issues such as health, money, school, family, or work. The worry is consistently unrealistic and out of proportion with the situation. Understandably, these symptoms cause daily life to become challenging or nearly impossible. The anxiety can become so dominate that it interferes with daily functioning, everyday activities, and relationships.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. GAD alone affects 6.8 million adults (3.1% of the population). Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. The good news for sufferers is that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. There are many effective treatment options. Unfortunately, less than half of all sufferers are seeking treatment. At Valley, we understand GAD and have experience treating this incapacitating and persistent disorder. We look forward to meeting and treating you.
Facts & Figures
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Averages & Statistics
What Are the Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
If you’ve been chronically worried more days than not about a variety of everyday problems for at least six months, you may receive a GAD diagnosis. GAD affects the way a person thinks, but physical symptoms can present as well. Symptoms can include the following:
- Persistent and excessive worry
- A distorted view of problems
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty concentrating
- Using the bathroom frequently
- Trouble falling and staying asleep
- Being Easily Startled
How is Valley Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Paying regular attention to your mental well-being is good and should be a very normal part of healthy living. At Valley, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, which is why we take the time to care for each client individually and consider their broader story. Every client that walks through our doors is assessed holistically and cared for in a comprehensive way within a solution-focussed approach.
We offer a wide variety of counseling and counseling environments for a wide variety of clients:
Our individual counseling focuses in on each client and their unique story in order to discover the solutions that are right for them. After pairing our clients with the ideal therapist, we take the time to press into the cognitive, behavioral, and motivational aspects of our client’s recovery while also considering dual-diagnosis.
At Valley, we offer FDA approved psychiatric medication as part of our comprehensive treatment plan. Each medication program is prescribed by a trained medical professional (e.g., psychiatrist, nurse practitioner) within a broad scope of long-term care.
Research shows that counseling within a group setting is just as effective, sometimes even more so, as individual care. At Valley, we are proud to provide robust and interactive care groups led by trained clinicians. These empowering spaces have proven to be an invaluable resource for learning coping skills, feeling acceptance, and avoiding social isolation.
While every client needs to be individually motivated to seek treatment, one of the largest factors in successful treatment is a solid support system. Our family and couples counseling partners with immediate family, primary caregivers, adopted families, and support systems to get everyone on the same page in caring for their loved ones.
Complementary & Alternative Treatments
Integrating Alternative Medicine and Activity
Incorporating complementary or alternative medicine is often referred to as an integrated approach and works best when used alongside professional treatment. Don’t replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine.
With that said, here are some things proven to be helpful when dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
- Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that works to counteract the effects of stress in the body and may be useful in treating anxiety.
- Kava kava is a calming tonic from the Pacific Islands. A study performed in 2016 found that the tonic targets GABA receptors that manage anxiety symptoms.
- Lavender has long been used as a calming agent due to its subtle sedative effects. It may be helpful with anxiety and depression.
- Valerian is useful as a sleep remedy and it may also help with anxiety.
- 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and inositol should also be considered.
- Omega 3 – fatty acid supplements may help ease anxiety symptoms brought on by other health ailments.
More clinical studies must be performed to determine the effectiveness of supplements and natural interventions for people with GAD. Positive lifestyle changes on the other hand rarely have adverse effects and may also help reduce stress. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Even natural supplements can have side effects and interfere with the actions of prescription medications.
Exercise is generally classified as aerobic (running or walking), resistance (weight training), or mindfulness-based (yoga or tai chi). Exercise is known to improve cognitive mechanisms due to a diversion from negative thinking, social contact, and feelings of control over one’s health. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or another activity that you enjoy.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important for both your physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what can be done to help.
Stress amplifies many mental health ailments. These activities may help with relaxation and may be a valuable part of your treatment plan. Several alternative treatments aim to reduce anxiety and stress. These treatments include:
- massage therapy
Videos & Podcasts
Knowledgeable Insights from Around the Web
Great Resources on Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Relief
By Joshua Sideon
The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Workbook: A Comprehensive CBT Guide for Coping with Uncertainty, Worry, and Fear
By Melisa Robichaud
Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks
By Barry McDonagh
The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety: Daily Prompts and Practices to Find Peace
By Tanya J. Peterson MS NCC
The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution
By David A. Clark & Aaron T. Beck
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
By Edmund J. Bourne PhD
Feeling Better: CBT Workbook for Teens: Essential Skills and Activities to Help You Manage Moods, Boost Self-Esteem, and Conquer Anxiety
By Rachel Hutt PhD
Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking
By S.J. Scott & Barrie Davenport
The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution
By Trudy Scott
The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It
By David A. Carbonell PhD
Research and Resources
Great Articles & Resources on Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Weighted blankets have long been used for certain conditions. They may provide benefits for people with insomnia and anxiety, but research is scarce. Some people count sheep at night. You count worries. If you often find yourself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, you may be looking for solutions to help you get …
Several herbal remedies have been studied as a treatment for anxiety, but more research is needed to understand the risks and benefits. Here’s what we know — and don’t know: Kava. Kava appeared to be a promising treatment for anxiety, but reports of serious liver damage — even with short-term use — caused the Food and …
Anxiety affects millions of people every single day, including at work. In fact, anxiety disorders are the sixth-leading cause of disability, prompting reflective pieces like Joni E. Johnston’s “Anxious at Work: Is It Me or This Damn Job?” at Psychology Today. Whether you experience panic attacks from time to time or suffer from chronic anxiety, it can be scary, …
If you suffer from anxiety, the constant, nagging feelings of worry can be troubling and hard to control. These feelings are usually intense and out of proportion to the actual troubles and dangers in your everyday life. They can make it hard to function at home, at work, or in social situations. Anxiety can be …