What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Has anyone ever referred to you or your child as a worry wart? Have you or your child ever been overly concerned about performance, how well you have done on a test (despite being a good student) or maybe you are constantly worried about what other people may think of you? How about feeling overly concerned about what you hear on the news? When you are overly worried about real life events and experience a lot of physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, muscle tension, extreme fatigue, or you have difficulties falling asleep, you could be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Research studies estimate that almost 3 to 5% of Canadians suffer from GAD, which is also the most common of all the anxiety disorders. While GAD usually begins in childhood, it can occur at any age. GAD represents over 50% of all the types of anxiety disorders in childhood.
What Are Some Common Signs of GAD?
A few things you should look for include:
- Unwarranted worries or excessive worries
- Resisting any change
- Excessive physical complains, especially just prior to testing situations
Behavioral Signs Associated with GAD
A person with GAD might:
- Cry or become upset with change
- Be overly concerned with grades, performance on tests
- Excessively worry about real-life issues such as thunderstorms, earthquakes, crime
- Worry about finances, when they are financially secure
- Worry excessively about the health of themselves and other family members (unwarranted worries)
- Complain of stomach aches, muscle pain, headaches
- Have difficulties concentrating or paying attention
- Extreme fatigue associated with excessive arousal
- Suffer from sleep disturbance, particularly prior to going to school or work
What Can I Do If I Am Worried About Someone Who May Have GAD?
If you are concerned that you or your child may suffer from anxiety, speak with a health professional who can refer you and/or your child to an individual specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of GAD. We at Reframe Psychology Clinic have considerable experience assessing and treating GAD. Assessments are in-depth and include an interview (with parents and child) as well as completion of questionnaires. GAD is very common and very treatable. There is significant research evidence that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can significantly help an individual manage anxiety symptoms. Remember, it is important to make sure that your therapist has specific training in the treatment of anxiety and expertise in CBT. This will make a significant difference in successful treatment outcomes.