Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by chronic, persistent anxiety and worry that is not associated with any one event or situation. Common worries include fear of: losing control, not being able to cope, failure, rejection or abandonment, illness and death. In children and adolescents, the focus of worry is often on school and athletic performance. We all experience anxiety from time to time; however, for those with generalized anxiety disorder, the worry is excessive and out of proportion to the reality of the situation. With generalized anxiety disorder, there is a tendency to overestimate the likelihood of something bad happening and underestimate the ability to cope if that situation does, in fact, occur. Generalized anxiety disorder is common and can develop at any age.
Recognizing Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Excessive, uncontrollable worry about a variety of situations, day-to-day activities, performance, health, finances, etc.
- Persistent “What if” doubts and fears
- Restlessness, feeling on edge, irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, stomachaches, and headaches
- Difficulty sleeping and fatigue
Recommended Treatment For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Like other anxiety disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder responds well to treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered the treatment of choice with emphasis placed on identifying anxious thoughts, challenging those thoughts, and generating alternative coping thoughts. Relaxation techniques targeting physical symptoms of stress and anxiety may also be a helpful component of the treatment plan. These new skills are then implemented in situations that cause anxiety (in vivo exposures). This is accomplished gradually beginning with the easiest situations then progressing to the more difficult.
For more information about Generalized Anxiety Disorder or to schedule an appointment with an anxiety treatment specialist at Austin Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services please call (512) 246-7225 or email us at [email protected] We are currently accepting new patients at our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices.