The staff members of Ventre Medical Associates believe in the importance of mental health, and are proud to help people be their best self, on both a physical and an emotional level. The professionals explain that Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a devastating condition that impacts millions of people, many of whom do not even realize that they are suffering from a legitimate medical issue.
What is GAD?
GAD is described as excessive and exaggerated anxiety, as well as worry about everyday life events that don’t require that level of concern. Those who suffer from GAD frequently panic about health, money, family, work, or school issues, even if there is no real reason for the fear. They may blow their worries out of proportion based on the situation at hand, and constantly experience feelings of nervousness and dread. In many instances, GAD can inhibit a person’s ability to enjoy work, social activities, school, and relationships.
Learning the signs and symptoms of GAD
Ventre Medical Associates explain that GAD can shape the way a person thinks, and it can show itself in physical ways including:
- Excessive and ongoing worry
- An unrealistic view about problems
- A feeling of restlessness
- Muscle tension
- Frequent headaches
- Trouble focusing
- The frequent need to use the bathroom
- Issues with sleep
- Constant fatigue
- Being startled
“The reasons behind GAD are still relatively unclear,” notes the team at Ventre Medical Associates, “though researchers believe that several key factors play a role in the situation.” This includes:
Genetics: Family history may impact a person’s likelihood of developing GAD. This means that children of parents who have GAD are more likely to face the condition themselves.
Brain chemistry: GAD has been linked with abnormal levels of some types of neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters are special chemicals that move information from one nerve cell to another. When these neurotransmitters are thrown off balance, the messages are not relayed properly in the brain. This can impact the way the brain reacts, and can yield feelings of anxiety.
Environmental factors: Certain traumatic events such as abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, a new job, and other instances may bring on a bout of GAD. GAD typically worsens during periods of stress. Certain substances like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of GAD.
GAD currently impacts four million Americans, including children, teenagers, and adults alike. It is more frequently seen in women than men, though both genders are vulnerable to the condition.
The professionals at Ventre Medical Associates note that a thorough evaluation from a medical professional can help to diagnose GAD. At this time, the doctor will analyze the person’s medical history and may also perform a physical exam. Though there are no official lab tests that diagnose GAD, a doctor has a number of strategies to properly identify the condition when it is present. In order for a person to have GAD, they must experience more periods of anxiety than not during the course of six months. The symptoms must also negatively impact the person’s ability to perform at work or school.
“It’s important to understand the difference between stress and General Anxiety Disorder. All people experience stress from time to time, whether it’s because of a big presentation at work, an illness in the family, or money concerns. However, GAD is about prolonged, debilitating anxiety that changes a person’s ability to function. If it becomes clear that the person’s anxiety is persistent and problematic, it’s time to seek help from a medical professional,” notes the team at Ventre Medical Associates.
The treatment options for GAD
The professionals at Ventre Medical Associates explain that there is a range of options for handling GAD. In years past, a person had to try to cope on their own, often experiencing a lesser quality of life. This is no longer the case, as there are a variety of strategies and techniques a person can rely upon to enjoy a rich life, even with the presence of GAD. Some of these treatment options include:
Medication: There are a number of medications that prove useful to those suffering from GAD to assist the person in feeling more relaxed and less anxious. Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Those who are dealing with anxiety disorders typically participate in cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is where the individual learns to recognize and change their behavioral patterns that can lead to feelings of anxiety. This type of treatment allows the client to look at worries more realistically, thus allowing them to keep anxiety in check.
Though there is no known cure for GAD, most people are able to minimize their symptoms and live a fulfilled and peaceful life. With proper treatment, the professionals at Ventre Medical Associates explain that an individual is able to successfully manage their GAD.
The team at Ventre Medical Associates notes that there is no way to prevent GAD from happening in the first place, however a person can take a few steps to minimize their symptoms. This includes:
- – Lessening caffeine consumption, including soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate
- – Taking the proper blend of medication
- – Finding out how other medications may interact, thus heightening symptoms of anxiety
- – Getting plenty of exercise
- – Eating a clean, healthy diet
- – Seeking counseling during particularly upsetting times
- – Practicing stress management techniques such as yoga or meditation
“GAD should be taken seriously, and requires proper attention in order to prevent it from inhibiting a person’s life. With the careful guidance of a medical professional, an individual can begin a treatment regimen that helps them to eliminate or lessen the symptoms of the disorder,” states the team at Ventre Medical Associates.