Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD occurs in approximately 3.1% of the adult population and in 3% of children and adolescents. Individuals with GAD experience chronic worry as well as chronic symptoms of anxious arousal, including muscle aches, insomnia, headaches, stomachaches, feeling tired or mildly ill, or feeling chronically restless and irritable. GAD frequently co-occurs with other mental health disorders. Individuals often believe that their worry, though bothersome, may have some value in protecting their own safety, or the safety of others, or in maintaining high standards, school performance, or job performance. repeated reassurance seeking is frequent with those who have GAD. Conversations at times will revolve around seeking the reassuring opinions of others, but with no apparent end to the worry.

Successful treatment of GAD includes therapy techniques which help the individual  to learn to tolerate uncertainty, effectively solve problems, and decrease perfectionistic tendencies. Exposure therapy and imaginal flooding helps to decrease and worry related to the future. If chronic physical arousal makes it difficult to relax, then relaxation training and mindfulness training is introduced to help restore the body’s normal resting state. Referral for medication may be necessary when depression or other disorders make it difficult to engage in treatment for worry.