Generalized anxiety disorder and anxiety disorder are often used as synonyms however that is not quite true.
Anxiety disorder represents a cluster of anxiety related disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder and etc.
In other words when we say that someone has an anxiety disorder we can be much more specific and being specific in this case means a lot.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized with excessive worrying; always present concerns and chronic fear that something may go wrong. People suffering from generalized anxiety disorder can almost never relax.
They can’t even remember the last time they were relaxed because they always find something to be stressed about and that can be very tiring.
Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder:
Tendency to predict the worst
Lack of patience
Constant negative thinking
Dry mouth or eyes
Frequent need for urination
These are not all the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder however they are the most common. As you can see we all have experienced some of these symptoms at some stage of our lives and that does not mean that we all have a generalized anxiety disorder.
For someone to be diagnosed with this disorder she/he need to be excessively worried for more that six months.
Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Psychotherapy is very successful in treating generalized anxiety disorder; especially some psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.
For all mild and many moderate cases psychotherapy is enough.
For severe cases medication is used together with psychotherapy because a patient usually is not able to participate in psychotherapy without first being relieved of symptoms.
Family and friends support can be important part of your healing that’s why sometimes family therapy is recommended as well. In family therapy your spouse or other members of your family are educated about your disorder and how to act and react when you are in need.
People having a generalized anxiety disorder usually have a drinking problem as well.
If this is the case alcohol counseling must be part of the treatment as well. Also if a person has problems with drug abusing counseling is mandatory together with psychotherapy.
Admitting to yourself and others that you have a problem, taking part in therapy and facing your disorder is a difficult and hard thing to do. However that is the only way to get better and live a normal life. Living with generalized anxiety disorder is much harder that fighting it even though sometimes it may look different.
Michel: "Generalized anxiety disorder is a dreadful and hideous thing. Sometimes I feel as if I’m going crazy. I can’t sleep and even when I do fall a sleep I would awake and not be able to go back to bad. Worrying is my life! I don’t remember the last time I was relaxed. I forgot what it looks like to enjoy life and be happy."
After nine months of therapy Michel remembered how life can be normal and beautiful. She worked very hard on getting better and didn’t get discouraged when things didn’t go as planned. She fully recovered and has become a much stronger person.
There are many illnesses, disorders, situations and problems in life. Generalized anxiety disorder is one of them and should be treated as such and nothing more. Once in therapy your chances to recover are 80%. So what are you waiting for?