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Psychotherapist  * Psychotherapy * CBT

Tamworth * Sutton Coldfield * Solihull * Birmingham * West Midlands

Anxiety Therapist 

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most prevalent anxiety disorders with research suggesting there are up to two million sufferers in the UK. Although many people initially try to normalize their problem by referring to themselves as being a 'worrier' or are often described as 'only happy when they have something to worry about', the disorder is in fact chronic and often accompanies other disorders such as depression, social anxiety disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and alcohol abuse.

Worry about one specific issue is not classed as GAD. For instance if someone was constantly worrying about socializing, visiting the dentist, fear of lifts would be classed as specific phobias. Constant fear of panic attacks would be diagnosed as panic disorder, fear of illness would be diagnosed as health anxiety. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2000) (DSM-1V-TR) GAD is characterized by restlessness, irritability, sleep problems, tension, feeling under threat, fatigue, difficulty concentrating or perceiving the mind going blank. Also, worry is exacerbated by specific situations and results in more intense symptoms. The worry is also way out of proportion to the chances or impact of the feared situation.

Often people experience palpitations, sweating, dry mouth, trembling, hot flushes, headaches and muscle tension. Symptoms fluctuate due to the presence or absence of external life stressors. As these symptoms overlap with other disorders, a sufferer may not be aware he or she has the disorder. Some people who have GAD report that they do not feel excessive worry if they are truly focused on a particular task or work.

However, when they break from their concentration the excessive worrying begins. Intense worries can change from week to week. For instance one week a person may be preoccupied with a health issue and the following week will be worrying excessively about finances or having to attend a social gathering.

Treatment will involve a tailor made intervention to suit the needs of individual clients. Interventions include relaxation/breathing exercise, cognitive restructuring to reduce negative thoughts, analysis of benefits of worrying, acceptance of certain levels of discomfort due to unrealistic expectations of perfectionism in performance (socially or academically) and emotional comfort.