Anxiety is an emotion that all of us experience at some time or another in our lives. Anxiety can motivate us in a positive and negative way. It is a normal feeling and in certain situations can signal us to respond in an appropriate way. However, anxiety can also be overwhelming and debilitating for some if the feelings seem to never go away, if it strikes unexpectedly without cause, is triggered by a specific event or fear, or lingers from a past traumatic event.
Anxiety comes in many shapes, sizes, and intensity and everyone is equipped to handle it to varying degrees. It is part of everyday living, but if you feel that you are too controlled by your fears, worries, or anxiety, we encourage you to seek help. Anxiety disorders are treatable conditions. It is important to understand the source of your anxieties to get the most effective help.
If you suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), you experience more than just “normal” anxiety on a daily basis. Your anxiety may be chronic, your worries may be exaggerated, and it seems to be unprovoked. Even though you may realize that your worry is excessive or more intense than is warranted for a particular situation, you cannot shake it. You may find it difficult or impossible to relax because having this condition causes you to be always anticipating disaster.
The severity of this condition does vary, although impairment is usually mild. For those with severe GAD, it can be debilitating, interrupting most of your ordinary daily tasks and activities.
The onset of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is usually gradual, beginning in childhood or adolescence; however, it can strike in adulthood. It is estimated to affect 3 – 4% of the US population during the course of a year. It is present more often in females than males and often occurs in relatives of affected persons.
Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months before a formal diagnosis is given and symptoms may also worsen during times of stress. The good news is that in general, symptoms of GAD will diminish with age; however, there are several treatment options that have proven successful with treatment of GAD.