The word “general” can be kind of confusing.
We have a good sense of what it means when used in a military context: a general is a high-ranking officer with lots of power and responsibility. But in other contexts, the word is a little vague.
What, for example, do we mean when we say “generally speaking”? Well, it seems fair to say that the phrase suggests something is true more often than it isn’t. But it is still sort of wishy-washy, right? The same could be said of phrases like “in general” or “a general sense of things.”
Given this vagueness, it is pretty easy to understand how the mental health disorder known as “generalized anxiety disorder” might sound as though it is no big deal. It sounds like it is sort of general—sort of generic, even—and that might lead to the conclusion that it isn’t terribly disruptive in the lives of those who are diagnosed with it.
But let us be specific: Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder with definable symptoms—and it can upend a person’s life in many different ways.
The Specifics of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
So, what—specifically—does it mean to be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder?
A person dealing with this particular mental health disorder finds themselves worrying—all of the time and out of proportion to the situation—over just about everything. It doesn’t matter that a given situation is totally nonthreatening. It doesn’t matter that other people seem perfectly comfortable with whatever is going on. It doesn’t matter how many times they are offered reassurance that everything is fine.
If you are dealing with generalized anxiety disorder, you simply cannot stop worrying. In a real sense, it doesn’t even matter what you are worrying about. The situations you find yourself in are, of course, constantly changing, but the sense of worry and anxiety is just ever-present. You might know that you are overreacting. You might know that a given situation is going to turn out okay. You might know that it is not normal to be experiencing anxiety all of the time without respite. But the disorder doesn’t care about these facts. It keeps you on edge anyway.
Additional Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
It would be bad enough if the only symptom of generalized anxiety disorder was this ongoing sense of worry, nervousness, and sense that everything is a danger of one sort or another. But there are additional symptoms as well. These include:
- An inability to sleep—even though persistent anxiety is often exhausting
- Gastrointestinal issues, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and/or sweating not related to physical activity or a warm environment
- Persistent trembling and/or an ongoing sense of weakness
- Extreme concentration issues caused by the persistent worries that push aside other thoughts
- A strong desire to avoid anything, anyplace, or any person that might amp up the feelings of anxiety beyond their already high levels
Ironically, these terrible feelings of anxiety can actually make a person too nervous to seek out help. After all, what if the doctor or therapist had terribly bad news to deliver? Wouldn’t it be better not to know what might be wrong?
In a word—and a very specific word at that: No.
The Specific Solution to Generalized Anxiety Disorder Is Getting Help
If you are struggling with the symptoms we have described above, you need to see a doctor and/or therapist right away. You do not have to live with persistent anxiety over which you have no control. A combination of therapy and medication can help you manage the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder so that you can move through the world with less worry and more enjoyment.
At Peak View Behavioral Health, our staff has expertise and experience when it comes to treating generalized anxiety disorder. We also promise a compassionate, personalized approach to treatment that is grounded in seeing you as a unique individual—not just another client with a disorder. We will take the time to listen to you so that we have a full understanding of your personal story.
Let us help you overcome the agonizing anxiety you have been experiencing. When you are ready to tackle your generalized anxiety disorder, we are ready to offer specific and effective treatment.