Health and information – Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental disorder characterized by unexplained anxiety and excessive worry. This disorder can be experienced by children or adults.
This generalized anxiety disorder can happen to anyone, but it occurs most often in adults over 30 years of age.
When experiencing this condition, sufferers generally cannot explain why they feel anxious or excessively worried.
What are the common symptoms of anxiety disorder?
Anxiety or anxiety is a natural thing, especially if there is a certain pressure or condition.
However, if your anxiety and worry become uncontrollable, excessive, even to the point of interfering with daily activities, then this could be a sign that you are experiencing a generalized anxiety disorder.
Common symptoms of anxiety disorder that can be recognized include:
- The appearance of anxiety and excessive worry about various conditions that are not typical.
- Excessive thoughts about plans and solutions for any worst case may not arise.
- Easy to feel irritated, restless, nervous, and cornered.
- Doubtful, afraid, and difficult to make a decision.
- It’s hard to concentrate.
Generalized anxiety disorders can also cause physical symptoms, such as feeling tired, having trouble sleeping, headaches, shaking, excessive sweating, and nausea, stomach pain, and recurring diarrhea.
What are the causes of generalized anxiety disorder?
It is not currently known the exact cause of generalized anxiety disorder.
However, a combination of various factors is thought to contribute to the emergence of generalized anxiety disorder. These factors are:
- Have a history of trauma or have had a stressful event, such as bullying or bullying.
- There is a family history of generalized anxiety disorder.
- Experiencing a disease that requires long-term treatment, such as arthritis.
- There is a history of drug use or alcoholism.
- Have a history of disorders of the nervous system.
How is generalized anxiety disorder diagnosed?
To diagnose generalized anxiety disorder, the doctor will conduct questions and answers regarding the complaints experienced, and medical history, drug use, and illness in the family.
The doctor will also ask questions about daily life, activities, and the condition of the surrounding environment.
Furthermore, doctors use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria to diagnose generalized anxiety disorders.
Some of the criteria that indicate a patient has a generalized anxiety disorder are:
- Excessive anxiety and worry that lasts all the time for at least 6 months.
- Feelings of worry that are hard to control.
- These complaints and symptoms cause disruption in activities.
- Complaints are not based on specific diseases or health conditions.
In addition, generalized anxiety disorder is also characterized by anxiety and fear followed by at least 3 of the following symptoms:
- Feeling restless, discouraged, and cornered.
- Feel tired.
- It’s hard to concentrate.
- Easily offended.
- Increased muscle tension.
- Experiencing sleep disorders (including difficulty falling asleep or always wanting to sleep).
If another condition or disease is suspected, the doctor will ask the patient to undergo supporting tests, such as urine tests or blood tests.
When to see a doctor?
Get checked by a doctor if the anxiety and worry you experience is excessive, uncontrollable, and interferes with daily activities, or when you experience the complaints and symptoms mentioned above.
You should also check with your doctor if you have a history of other mental disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or depression.
If you have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, regular visits to your doctor are also necessary to monitor the progress of the condition.
What are the treatments for generalized anxiety disorder?
Treatment for generalized anxiety disorder includes 2 steps, namely through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. These two steps will usually be combined according to the patient’s needs.
A. Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is done so that sufferers recognize and change patterns of thought and behavior that make them feel anxious.
This therapy helps patients not to change ordinary thoughts into negative thoughts and is able to see them more realistically.
Patients need to devote 1 hour each week to 1 session of CBT therapy for 3-4 months.
During a CBT therapy session, a psychiatrist or psychologist will also teach relaxation techniques so that patients can be calmer when facing situations that can trigger anxiety.
B. Use of medications
In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, doctors will provide several types of drugs to reduce complaints.
Some of the types of drugs that are usually given to treat generalized anxiety disorders include:
- Antidepressants. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants are used to increase serotonin in the brain, while serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are used to increase serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain.
- Pregabalin. Although it is better known as a drug to treat seizures in epilepsy and neuropathic pain, pregabalin can also be used to treat anxiety disorders.
- Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are a class of sedatives that are given to people with severe generalized anxiety disorder. The goal of administering this drug is to relieve symptoms and complaints of generalized anxiety disorder in a short time.
Keep in mind, patients need to routinely see a doctor when undergoing treatment for generalized anxiety disorders. The goal is for doctors to know the progress of the patient’s condition.
Routine checks can be done every 2-4 weeks in the first 3 months of using the drug.
In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy and drugs, people with generalized anxiety disorders can do the following to relieve their symptoms:
- Get regular exercise.
- Doing relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga.
- Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol consumption.
What are the complications of generalized anxiety disorder?
If general anxiety disorder is not treated promptly, excessive anxiety and worry will make the sufferer unable to carry out daily activities.
Generalized anxiety disorders can also cause sleep disturbances. If allowed to drag on this sleep disturbance will interfere with health.
In addition, generalized anxiety disorder can make someone with depression more prone to abuse drugs or alcohol.
What are the prevention of generalized anxiety disorder?
There are several things you can do to prevent this, including:
- Get regular exercise.
- Eat foods with balanced nutrition.
- Follow exercises to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, and keeping a daily journal.
- Stay away from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes.
- Reduce consumption of foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as chocolate, coffee and tea.
- See a psychiatrist if you experience traumatic things that interfere with your thoughts and activities.
That’s a little bit of information about general anxiety disorder. Let’s change our lifestyle from being less healthy to healthier.
And don’t forget to eat nutritionally balanced foods to keep your body healthy and avoid various diseases, especially mental illness.