When someone suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder they often worry uncontrollably, usually about common situations or daily occurrences. Generalized Anxiety may also be called Chronic Anxiety Neurosis. Anxiety, feelings of anxiousness, and nervousness about life events can happen to anyone. In fact, if we were to take a sample of the population, 100% of all people have anxiety at some time and frequently too.
Sometimes anxiety manifests itself as just worry, they are just unable to express what they are worried about. Many times they feel something negative may happen or they simply can not stay calm. Excessive and unrealistic worry is terrifying to the person experiencing it. Often it interferes with relationships, daily activities, and life.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be caused by:
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder may include (but are not limited to):
Anxiety is very, very common, just as depression or other phobias are. However, Generalized Anxiety is different in several ways.
Depressed people can occasionally feel anxious and those who suffer from phobias may often worry about one particular thing. Those who suffer from Generalized Anxiety often worry about several (or many) topics of a period of months (or years). They usually do not identify (or communicate) the source of their worry.
A mental health screening is the first step in diagnosis. During this process we take time to listen, ask questions, ask about symptoms, feelings, emotions, daily life, and also watch for visible cues. We may also test to see if there is an underlying illness or substance abuse, which may be causing your symptoms. Some patients may also suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, thyroid disorders, heart disease, or menopause.
We may ask for blood tests, to check hormone levels, urine tests, to check for substance abuse, gastric reflux tests, to check for GERD and to view the esophagus and even X-rays, to check on the condition of the heart.
Depending on the severity we may regularly set up time to talk with you, it could be weekly, biweekly, or monthly. This is key in providing a long-term anxiety relief.
We may prescribe medication. Hopefully, medications can be a short-term use to we can relieve the physical symptoms of your anxiety. Some anti-anxiety medications may include Xanax, Klonopin, or Ativan. There is a high risk for dependence and abuse on anti-anxiety drugs - so we will closely monitor your use.
Other medications, which we may use are called antidepressants, these typically work well in the long-term. These medications may include: Buspar, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Sarafem, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor XR, Pristiq, or Cymbalta). We also work with companies who perform clinical trials - if you are interested and a good candidate you may choose to be in a clinical trial with a new medication.
It is important some medications take time to start working - sometimes weeks. Medications often carry side effects - if these side effects are affecting you we may run a medication management profile on you, adjust your dosage, or switch to a different medication.
As with many of life's issues some people adopt certain lifestyle habits, including:
Many people can manage Generalized Anxiety with therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. There is hope! We are here to help! Please ask as many questions as you want!
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