Finding The Hope You Need in Treating Generalized Anxiety
One in five adult Delawareans will experience a mental health concern at some point this year, according to the National Institute on Mental Illness (NAMI). Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental issues faced in this country, encountered by nearly 40 million people.
Navigating treatment on your own can be a lonely, emotional, and intimidating experience for someone or their loved ones experiencing an anxiety disorder. Luckily, SUN Behavioral Delaware is here to guide you towards a life unburdened by overwhelming anxiety.
Anxiety is a feeling that is universal to the human experience but when it starts to dominate your life, it may be time to seek help. Considering the millions of people who struggle with generalized anxiety, you are not alone.
What Is An Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a group of conditions with unique symptoms that share a common characteristic: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. These irrational fears and worries act as a hindrance or roadblock in the way of everyday life.
People with an anxiety disorder typically experience on or more of the following symptoms:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Feeling tense or jumpy
- Restlessness or irritability
- Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
- Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
- Sweating, tremors, and twitches
- Headaches, fatigue, and insomnia
- Upset stomach, indigestion, frequent urination, or diarrhea
As stated above, there are both multiple symptoms and multiple types of anxiety disorders. It is entirely possible to be suffering from several types of anxiety disorders at the same time. Some examples of these different types of anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, specific phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
It is completely normal to feel anxious from time to time. Every day we face numerous stressors from our careers and family that require a great deal of mental energy to work through. However, persistent and excessive anxiety and worry lasting 6 months or more that are difficult to control and interfere with day-to-day life may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
It’s entirely possible to develop generalized anxiety disorder both as a child and as an adult. This disorder may share some common characteristics with other conditions such as panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other types of anxiety, but it is its own unique condition and is treated as such.
Additional Anxiety Symptoms of the Disorder
Alongside the general symptoms discussed above, according to the Mayo Clinic, a person experiencing general anxiety disorder may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Persistent worrying or anxiety about several areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the event
- Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes
- Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t
- Difficulty handling uncertainty
- Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decisions
- Inability to set aside or let go of a worry
- Inability to relax, feelings of restlessness, and feeling on edge
- Difficulty concentrating, or the feeling of your mind “going blank”
Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term and constant challenge. In many cases, it occurs alongside or in tandem with other anxiety and mood disorders. There are steps you can take towards the treatment of GAD and SUN Behavioral Delaware is here to help.
How Can Untreated Generalized Anxiety Affect My or My Loved One’s Life?
How the Disorders Effect You Individually
If left untreated, the effects of general anxiety disorder can manifest themselves in any number of negative ways.
Some of the physical symptoms of GAD can lead to misdiagnoses and a whole new set of issues. For example, you make an appointment with your general practitioner to address frequent upset stomach and digestive issues. Without the context of generalized anxiety disorder, your general practitioner may misdiagnose your condition as irritable bowel syndrome or something similar. This can lead to the prescription of unnecessary medication and begin to compound your problems without addressing the root of your issues.
Generalized anxiety disorder can also make itself known in your academic or professional life. It may make even the simplest of tasks seem insurmountable. Maybe it becomes more and more difficult to make deadlines on work or school projects. This may lead to a negative feedback loop that can feel like you’re digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole.
Some people who suffer from GAD may even turn to self-medication as a way to cope with its difficult symptoms. Relying on drugs or alcohol to silence these symptoms may lead to a deep depression and even thoughts of suicide.
Effect of Anxiety on Loved Ones
Generalized anxiety disorder doesn’t just affect the person experiencing the condition, it also affects everyone close to that person. Seeing a loved one suffering mentally and not being able to help may be the most helpless and difficult feeling there is. Not knowing how to find help for someone can affect relationships and a partner may become more distant as a result.
Increased irritability and stress across the board can affect family units, and each person may try to find a way to “fix” the problem to gain control of a chaotic situation.
Everyone involved can find hope knowing there are effective treatment strategies that will help gain a renewed peace of mind.
What Kind of Help Does SUN Behavioral Offer Those Who Have an Anxiety Disorder?
Our GAD treatment program uses evidence-based practices proven to be the most effective in treating mood and anxiety disorders.
These include a combination of psychopharmacology with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other strength-based interventions.
Our treatment team will work with you to determine which, if any, medication treatments may prove helpful in managing your symptoms. CBT is a leading therapy-based treatment that teaches patients how to identify and achieve their goals and needs.
How Does CBT Work For Anxiety?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy changes thoughts, feelings, core beliefs, and actions that drive the issues that you’re facing. It goes far beyond medication to help you identify the negative thoughts that contribute to anxiety and your response in situations that can further your anxiety.
Your specialized team at SUN Behavioral Delaware will teach you strength-based strategies to equip you in neutralizing anxious thoughts. Our program provides these treatments in a trauma-informed care environment with the core principles of safety, trustworthiness, empowerment, collaboration, and choice driving all interactions.
Who Is Involved In My GAD Treatment Plan?
You will receive an individualized assessment from our multidisciplinary team led by psychiatrists and compassionate around-the-clock patient care. Other team members are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and include general practitioners to consult on medical issues, therapists, and activity specialists.
Other components of treatment at SUN Behavioral include:
- Life skills and healthy living groups
- Stress management
- Activity therapy
- Family therapy
- Collaboration with outpatient providers
- Aftercare planning for continued recovery
At SUN Behavioral Delaware, we see hundreds of patients a month and provide a full continuum of specialized care, including inpatient and day hospital services, for those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.
It is important to remember that there is no single cure for the complex emotional issues at the heart of mood and anxiety disorders, but we can help identify and resolve the often longstanding psychological issues they can affect. SUN offers you a hopeful path to an improved quality of life.
If you or someone you love is struggling, we can help. At SUN Behavioral, we’ve created a caring, healing environment and will be there for every step of your journey to recovery. Call us at 302-604-5600 to learn more.
How long does generalized anxiety disorder last?
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can affect almost every aspect of life and, if left untreated, can become a long-term condition. A person can be diagnosed with GAD if they’ve experienced irrational anxiety most days during a period of 6 months. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and can begin to show results in 12 to 16 weeks. Medication may also be used to treat GAD on a short-term or long-term basis.
What causes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a complex psychological issue that may have equally complex causes. Some risk factors for GAD may include a family history of anxiety and recent or prolonged exposure to stressful situations such as family illness. The overuse of some drugs, such as caffeine or nicotine, may also contribute to exacerbating anxiety.
Is GAD a serious mental illness?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by six months or more of chronic, exaggerated worry and tension that is unfounded or much more severe than the normal anxiety most people experience. Any mental illness that can affect every aspect of a person’s life for a prolonged period should be treated as a serious mental illness.
What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders?
Anxiety typically presents itself in six different rationales, each with unique symptoms:
- Social phobia (social anxiety)
- Separation anxiety
- Panic disorder
- Agoraphobia (extreme fear of leaving the home or entering a crowded or open space)
- Phobia specific (fear of spiders or death)
- Generalized anxiety disorder