Many people can relate to being anxious about something at some point in their lives, but there is a difference between nervousness or apprehension and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), which can be crippling and all-consuming to the sufferer.
Someone with GAD does not just feel anxious about getting up on stage, giving a speech or having a job interview, for example. Instead, they are in a constant state of anxiousness.
According to the NHS: “People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.”
When it comes to recognising symptoms of GAD, it is worth noting these often go beyond feelings of worry and concern. In fact, they also include restlessness, having trouble sleeping or concentrating on things, heart palpitations and dizziness.
Mayo Clinic notes other symptoms of GAD are overthinking plans, thinking of the worst-case scenarios, believing things are threatening when they are not, being unable to relax, feeling your mind has gone ‘blank’, not being able to let go of a worry, and not handling uncertainty well.
It can also affect people physically as well as mentally, which some sufferers might not realise. For instance, GAD might present through excessive sweating, nausea, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, trembling, muscle tension, trouble sleeping and constant fatigue.
According to Healthline: “People with GAD worry about a number of different topics over a long period of time (six months or more), or they may not be able to identify the source of their worry.”
There are several causes of GAD, from a family history of the condition to excessive use of caffeine or tobacco. Bullying, stressful situations, and health conditions can also result in GAD.
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