anxiety resources: overview - Northlight Counseling

Overview

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is much more than the normal anxiety people experience day to day. People with GAD can’t seem to shake their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. Their worries are accompanied by physical symptoms, especially fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes. People with GAD may feel lightheaded or out of breath, may feel nauseated or have to go to the bathroom frequently. Individuals with GAD seem unable to relax, and they may startle more easily than other people. They tend to have difficulty concentrating, and have trouble falling or staying asleep.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is when a severe fear or discomfort suddenly develops, peaking within 10 minutes. During this discrete episode, 4 or more of the following symptoms occur:

  • Chest pain or other chest discomfort.
  • Chills or hot flashes.
  • Choking sensation.
  • Derealization (feeling unreal or detached from self).
  • Dizzy, lightheaded, faint or unsteady.
  • Fear of dying.
  • Fears of loss of control or becoming insane.
  • Heart pounds, races or skips beats.
  • Nausea or other abdominal discomfort.
  • Numbness or tingling.
  • Sweating.
  • Shortness of breath or smothering sensation.
  • Trembling.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects about twice as many women as men. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. It is diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worrying excessively about a number of everyday problems. There is evidence that genes play a modest role in GAD.

GAD is commonly treated with medications and counseling. GAD rarely occurs alone, however; it is usually accompanied by another anxiety disorder, depression, or substance abuse. These other conditions must be treated along with GAD. Treatment may be improved or speeded up with counseling. Contact me for an appointment.

Taken in part from the National Institute of Mental Health publication, Anxiety Disorders.

anxiety resources

helpful websites

  • TroubledWith: Stress
    Excellent collection of resources on dealing with anxiety disorders, as well as when and how to seek treatment.
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    National, non-profit membership organization dedicated to informing the public, healthcare professionals and legislators about anxiety disorders, promote the early diagnosis, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders, and improve the lives of the people who suffer from them.
  • Freedom From Fear
    National not-for-profit mental health advocacy association developed to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support.