Generalized anxiety disorder
If a person for six months there is an excessive daily feeling of anxiety and alarm, you can talk about generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Causes of generalized anxiety disorder
The exact causes of the disease are unknown. Often it can be found in patients suffering from alcohol dependence, as well as panic attacks and severe depression.
The disease is fairly common. According to statistics, each year become ill about 3% of the world's population. And women suffer twice as often as men. You can often find the disease in children and adolescents, but it happens, and generalized anxiety disorder in adults.
The disease is characterized by constant anxiety and concerns raised about the different circumstances or events that are not explicitly require such disturbances. Students, for example, there may be excessive fear of examinations, even if there is good knowledge and high ratings. Patients with GAD often unaware of the excessiveness of their fears, but constant anxiety causes them discomfort.
To be able to confidently diagnose GAD, his symptoms should occur over at least six months, the alarm must be unchecked.
Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder
When GAD immediate cause for alarm is not revealed so clearly as in the various panic attacks. The patient may worry for many reasons. Most often, there is anxiety about the professional obligations, constant shortage of money, security, health, machinery or other daily duties.
The characteristic symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder are: fatigue, anxiety, irritability, weakening of concentration, sleep disturbances, muscle tension. It should be noted that most patients with GAD already have one or more mental disorders, including panic disorder, depression or social phobia, etc.
GAD manifested clinically as follows: the patient feels constant anxiety and stress caused by a number of events or activities for six months or more. This anxiety he can not control, and it is accompanied by the above symptoms.
For the diagnosis of GAD in children is enough to have at least one of the six symptoms. For the diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder in adults, you must have at least three symptoms.
When GAD focus of worry and anxiety is not limited to motifs that are characteristic of other anxiety disorders. So, worry and anxiety are not associated exclusively with the fear of panic attacks (panic disorder), fear of large crowds (social phobia), weight gain (anorexia nervosa), fear of separation in childhood (separation anxiety disorder), the chance of contracting a dangerous disease (hypochondria ) and others. Anxiety causes discomfort to the patient and prevents him to lead a full life.
Typically, the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder due to a number of physical disorders (e.g., hypothyroidism), and the dosage of drugs or narcotics.
GAD increased chances of contracting in the presence of the following factors:
- low self-esteem;
- susceptibility to stress;
- smoking, alcohol, drugs, or drugs that cause dependency;
- prolonged stay under the influence of one or more negative factors (poverty, violence, etc.);
- the presence of family members of anxiety disorders.
Diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder
During the consultation the doctor performs a physical examination of the patient, asking him about the history and symptoms of the disease. Diagnosis of the disease includes a study to identify other diseases that could trigger GAD (eg, thyroid disease).
The doctor asks the patient what medications he takes, as some of them can cause serious side effects that are similar to the symptoms of GAD. Also, be sure to ask about the doctor, if the patient is dependent on tobacco, alcohol or drugs.
Accurate diagnosis of GAD is set in the presence of the following factors:
- GAD symptoms continue for six months or more;
- they cause significant patient discomfort and prevent him to lead a full life (eg, the patient is forced to miss school or work);
- GAD symptoms are constant and uncontrollable character.
Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder
Typically, the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder includes the following methods:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy. The patient is taught to change the point of view and more easily respond to the alarming situation.
- Behavioral therapy. The patient was taught the art of relaxation, muscle relaxation, deep breathing, visualization. This helps the patient to control anxiety, teaches him to remain calm. Sometimes in the course of therapy, the doctor may put a patient little stress to cause him anxiety and concern. This allows him to observe the patient in a hostile environment for him.
- Biofeedback, which is carried out by attaching sensors to the body. This method helps the doctor to understand the signals the body that respond to stimuli, and to decide on further treatment.
- Support Groups. This method of therapy allows the patient to share their experiences and learn how others cope with similar disease.
- Medication. Medications prescribed to the patient if the symptoms of GAD prevent him live a normal life and work. It is important to note that taking many drugs can not stop yourself, so before stopping to consult with your doctor.
Medicines for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Benzodiazepines, relaxes muscles and preventing their voltage in response to anxious thoughts. These drugs are taken under strict medical supervision, as they can be addictive.
- Drugs to reduce anxiety, such as buspirone, alprazolam;
- Antidepressants (mainly SSRIs).
- Beta-blockers to relieve the physical symptoms of GAD.
For the most successful treatment of GAD, it is important to identify the disease as early as possible, as it reduces the risk of severe psychological complications.
To reduce the symptoms of GAD are advised to avoid the use of nicotine, caffeine and other means of contributing to nervous excitement.