Have you ever thought of yourself as a "worrywart?" If it's not one thing to worry about, it's another. If you're not worrying about the kids, you're worrying about the car. If not the car, it's whether or not you'll have time to get to the library to return those books today. If it's not the books, well, when did the price of tomatoes go up so much? Why? Global warming? Should we go green at the office? Is the house toxic? And why hasn't mom called back? Is something wrong?
You get the idea. Pretty soon your head is spinning with things to worry about. If you're particularly adept at worrying, you probably even worry in your sleep! Of course, then you'll have to add "not getting enough sleep" to your worry list . . .
While some individuals with generalized anxiety disorder may be aware that they have difficulty controlling their worrying, or that the amount of worrying they experience is out of proportion to the likelihood of the object of their worry actually coming to pass, others may not identify their worrying as excessive and may instead focus on other worrisome symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, such as:
At least three of the above symptoms (only one for children), with at least some symptoms being present more days than not for 6 months or more, must be present to warrant a diagnoses of GAD, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM 5). In addition it's important to determine whether or not the focus of the anxiety or worry is not confined to another anxiety disorder or to the direct physiological effects of a substance (drugs of abuse, or a medication) or medical condition, or if it is only present during a Mood Disorder (such as depression), or other mental disorder. Finally, remember that anxiety does not become a "disorder" unless your symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in social (family, friends, relationship), occupational (work, school), or other important areas of functioning.
Relationships suffer. Work suffers. Communication suffers. Performance suffers. Even our relationship to God or to our spiritual self may suffer. Like all the anxiety disorders, GAD has a tendency to bubble over into so many aspects of our life it may stop us in our tracks, prevent us from realizing our dreams or potentials, or keep us spinning in the seemingly inescapable web of perfectionism.
In my practice, I find that my GAD clients often require particularly gentle treatment, and I've been told by many clients that previous attempts at anxiety treatment failed because "it just caused too much anxiety!" As a result, I take care to provide a positive, soothing, Soul-Focused Therapy approach to anxiety treatment, to minimize symptoms as soon as possible and set the stage for in depth healing to be sure that anxiety goes away for good. Read on to learn more about Soul-Focused Therapy, and other anxiety treatments.