Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed when a person has persistent and excessive worry that is difficult to control and interferes with their daily activities. With GAD people worry about multiple areas of their life such as health, work, money, family and other issues. It’s common for people with GAD to experience uncomfortable physical symptoms throughout the day. When someone has GAD they may have times when worry does not consume them, but they still feel anxious even when there is no apparent reason. 

Symptoms of GAD 

  • Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case scenarios
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty 
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless or on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating because of worry or anxiety
  • Feeling irritable
  • Muscle tension or aches and pains
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Perceiving situations as threatening when they are not
  • Feeling easily fatigued

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is highly treatable using a combination of cognitive behavioral therapies depending on the client’s specific needs. In treatment clients learn about the nature of anxiety and how to relate to it in a new and skillful way. 

Cognitive Restructuring focuses on teaching clients to identify and restructure distressing thoughts that are self-defeating or dysfunctional, particularly thoughts that lead to increased levels of anxiety. 

Acceptance-based therapies like Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) help clients learn how to change their relationship to their uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and sensations. ACT helps clients learn how to focus their attention on what is meaningful to them in the present moment despite difficult internal experiences. 

Both Mindfulness and ACT teach clients how to have a more skillful way of responding to anxiety so they can move on with their lives knowing that the discomfort of their internal experience is transitory and will eventually go away on it’s own without trying to control it or push it away.