General anxiety disorder is a debilitating condition which affects millions of people worldwide. It is entirely treatable however, so always seek advice.
It is perfectly normal for people to become anxious from time to time, but sometimes a person’s worries and fears become so acute that the sufferer needs to present themselves at the doctor in a bid to get help. Once fears and worries take hold they can start to become self-perpetuating and the person suffering from the anxiety can easily find themselves in a cycle of anxiety which is hard to break out of – at this point help will be required.
Diagnosing General Anxiety Disorder
After a full physical examination, to rule out the possibility of a physical condition being the cause of symptoms, a doctor may inform an individual that they are suffering from an anxiety disorder. General anxiety disorder (GAD) will only be diagnosed when it has become apparent that a person’s fears and worries have reached a crisis point – so much so that they are finding life difficult, if not impossible. The doctor will attempt to pinpoint the patterns of anxiety suffered by the patient, in order to ascertain whether they have more days of acute anxiety than normal ones. If so, then will the condition will be determined to be GAD.
General Anxiety Disorder is Treatable with Medication
GAD is treatable in a number of ways. If the symptoms of the anxiety are quite severe, and interfering in an individual’s life, then medicines known as benzodiazepines may be prescribed. The names of a number of these benzodiazepines will be familiar to many of us – for example Valium, Ativan and Librium. Valium used to be the drug of choice for treating anxiety, until it became clear that it was exceptionally addictive, with patients suffering severe withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped. This is why these types of tranquillisers are only used as a short term measure. They are effective however and act quickly to minimise or remove the patients anxiety symptoms such as shaking and restlessness.
In the longer term, anxiety disorder treatments may involve use of antidepressants such as Effexor or Prosac. They need a certain length of time to take effect, quite possibly a few weeks, but there are fewer side-effects. Its worth sticking with them because they have been found to be highly effective for the treatment of GAD.
Therapy as a Treatment for General Anxiety Disorder
Whilst medication can be an effective anxiety disorder treatment, it is generally agreed that the individual suffering from the disorder should combine medication with some form of therapy. Drugs such as tranquillizers and anti-depressants, whilst effective at helping minimize the symptoms of anxiety do not address the causes of the condition. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is therefore often recommended to patients. This anxiety disorder treatment focuses on changing an anxious individual’s perceptions about the world, in a bid to bring their worries more in line with reality.
Biofeedback exercises and relaxation therapies have also been found to be helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Deep breathing techniques are often taught as an addition to other forms of therapy, since the onset of anxiety is often signalled by a rapid heat beat and faster breathing. Being more in control of physical anxiety symptoms will delay and minimise the anxiety and – importantly – the fear of the anxiety.
Get Help for General Anxiety Disorder
Using a combination of prescribed medication and therapy its entirely possible tfor sufferers of GAD to get their lives back on track. Its important to seek immediate help from your GP who regularly sees people with this condition. The message is – dont suffer alone.