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Anxiety disorders as a group, and general anxiety disorder specifically, are the most prevalent mental problem in the US which impacts more than 40 million people ages 18 and up.  This accounts for more than 18% of the population.  This has a great financial burden and costs greater than $40 billion every year.  Anxiety is very complex and can be brought on by psychological stress, personality, biochemistry or genetics.

The Definition of General Anxiety Disorder-GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder can be classified by unrealistic, excessive and persistent concern about things that occur every day.  When people have GAD they excessively worry and get tense very easily.  Their thoughts often turn dark and always see danger and problems where none exist.  They always are ready for disaster to happen and are very worried about work, family, health, money and so on.  Many times, even mundane tasks throughout the day cause a great deal of stress.  In the US slightly less than 7 million adults are affected by generalized anxiety disorders, which accounts for 3% of the total population.

Signs and symptoms that a person may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Excessive worrying about mundane subjects and the only thing they can think about all day for a period of over 6 months.

  • The worrying becomes unmanageable but can’t be stopped.
  • Getting scared and extremely jumpy.
  • Twitching or trembling.
  • Getting headaches or lightheaded frequently.
  • Never able to relax and always anxious.
  • Getting irritable and never in a good mood.
  • Sleeping more than usual.
  • Regularly getting nauseous and throwing up.
  • Can no longer concentrate on subjects other than worrying.

Beyond being an anxiety disorder, GAD can also cause physical symptoms which include:

  • Stomach problems such as diarrhea or gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Hard time sleeping
  • Having difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue and always feeling like you are out of breath
  • Never being able to relax
  • Tension in muscles
  • Taking more bathroom breaks than usual
  • Hot flashes for women

Which People are more Likely to Suffer from GAD?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be treated effectively through cognitive or behavioral therapy.  When people go through successful treatment the suffer will be able to first identify, then understand and finally change their behavior and thinking.  This makes it possible for GAD sufferers to be able to handle their worry instead of their worry controlling them.  There are various ways to treat GAD from learning to relax, yoga, meditation, exercise, medication or alternative treatments.  GAD often brings along more stress related disorders such as substance abuse or depression.  When this happens the multiple disorders also needs to be treated.

People with mild generalized anxiety disorder are able to function in public and have a job.  However they have a tough time with some social situations and try to avoid them.  More severe cases of GAD make it very difficult to function and to perform everyday activities such as working, socializing or even leaving the house.

GAD must be addressed.  If it is not addresses odds are it only will get worse and take over more and more of your life.  Living with GAD is miserable so help must be sought as fast as possible when it’s identified.   Because our treatment center relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from anxiety and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of anxiety or depression, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for anxiety and depression can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.