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Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety could be described as a sense of unease, discomfort or fear that we have inside of us about a person, situation or just ourselves. Anxiety becomes a problem when we feel it to a significant degree regularly, and when it stops us doing the things we want to do, or fulfilling the potential inside of us.

Statistics

1 in 3 Australians will experience anxiety to a clinical level at some point in their lives.

Symptoms

Someone experiencing clinical levels of anxiety would display several of the following symptoms more days that not for more than 6 months;

  • Feel a sense of unease, discomfort or dread that something bad is about to happen
  • find it difficult to stop worrying
  • find it difficult to do everyday activities due to worry
  • Feel restless or on edge
  • Become easily tired
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • feel irritable
  • have muscle pain (e.g. sore jaw or back)
  • have trouble sleeping (e.g. difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep)

Causes

As with depression, there can be many causes of anxiety;

  • there may be a history of anxiety within the family
  • experiencing ongoing stressful events can lead to anxiety for example;
    • job related stressors
    • changes in living
    • pregnancy
    • relationship difficulties
    • experiencing a highly stressful or traumatic event
    • abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, financial)
    • grief and loss
  • Physical health problems can increase anxiety for a number of reasons
    • Consequence of illness on finances, employment, relationships
    • Life threatening conditions, such as cancer, heart disease
    • Hormonal problems such as an overactive thyroid, asthma
  • Substance misuse – whilst substances such as alcohol or drugs can initially be used to calm the effects of anxiety, if used over a long period of time they can induce dependence or addiction and anxiety can be experienced as soon as the substance is not in their possession/use

Ways of managing

Thankfully, there are a number of ways that anxiety can be managed;

  • Seeking out professional support through a counsellor, psychologist, or GP.
  • Developing a regular exercise routine can be a good outlet for the symptoms of anxiety
  • Having a daily plan to provide structure and routine to your day
  • Being mindful of substances that can impact your anxiety levels such as caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods.

Did you know?

You could think of anxiety as being like a tiger. The more you give in to the anxiety you feel, the more you feed the tiger and the fatter it gets. The trick is to stop feeding the tiger!