Do You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Life can be incredibly stressful, particularly when there are a lot of unknowns or if you feel like there’s more on your plate than you can handle.

You care about your work, family, friends and more, and certain situations or fears might keep you up at night. However, in some people, these seemingly natural concerns might actually be a serious issue for your health and well-being. That’s why it’s so important to know: When does everyday stress turn into anxiety that needs to be addressed?

The answer is: When it becomes something called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. GAD is characterized by persistent, excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday things. It affects 6.8 million adults, and women are twice as likely as men to have it. People who suffer from GAD expect the worst. They usually know they’re worrying way more than is necessary, but can’t shake the feeling that something horrible is going to happen.

To receive an official diagnosis of GAD, people must meet the following criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association:

  • Excessive anxiety or worry about several events or activities most days of the week for at least six months
  • Difficulty controlling your feelings of worry
  • Anxiety or worry that causes you significant stress or interferes with your daily life
  • Anxiety that isn’t related to another mental health condition, such as panic attacks, substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • At least three of the following symptoms in adults and one of the following in children: restlessness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, muscle tension or sleep problems

You should see your doctor if you have the above symptoms and if stress starts to interfere with your work, relationships or other parts of your life. It’s especially important to seek professional help if you feel depressed, have trouble with drinking or drugs, have other mental health concerns along with anxiety or experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Your doctor might prescribe certain medications or psychotherapy, which teaches different ways of thinking, behaving and reacting to situations that trigger anxiety. Additionally, some everyday lifestyle changes could also help you take control of your symptoms:

  • Exercise regularly and follow these suggestions to create the perfect weekly workout routine.
  • Eat a healthy diet and keep it fun with delicious recipes from our archives.
  • Use relaxation techniques like these popular meditation styles.
  • Make sleep a priority and try these tips if you struggle to catch enough shut-eye.


Photo credit: fizkes

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