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Here are 5 Practical Things You Can Do If You Live with General Anxiety Disorder

Here are 5 Practical Things You Can Do If You Live with General Anxiety Disorder
This article is medically approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Are you worrying way too much? Perhaps you spend an excessive amount of time overthinking about the most trivial issues?

Take a deep breath and understand what’s happening to you and the logical reasoning that warrants your condition. Everyone worries from time to time. However, frequent worrying can be a key indicator of underlying anxiety that requires medical response especially if it hinders productivity and performance of basic daily tasks.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is simply described as a condition of unexplained fear or anxiety over dealing with daily events. It comes persistently and excessively compared to a fairly regular reaction to stressful situations.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6.8 million American adults are affected by GAD. Cases among women are more prevalent than men. GAD is often partnered with clinical depression, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Unfortunately, only 43.2% are seeking and receiving treatment for GAD.

Symptoms of GAD

GAD primarily interrupts the mental and social capacity of an affected individual. However, the condition can include or escalate to physical discomforts. Here are some of the symptoms that suggest GAD.

·         Extreme worrying and consistent tension

·         Inability to focus

·         Restlessness

·         Easily fatigued

·         Headache

·         Sleeping problems

·         Muscle tension

·         Frequent urination

·         Trembling

·         Sweating

·         Easily disconcerted

Diagnosing GAD

In diagnosing GAD, your doctor may use psychological questionnaires, perform a physical exam, and/or order blood or urine test if an underlying medical condition is suspected.  

Causes of GAD are not entirely clear but medical researchers have associated factors such as environmental stresses, brain chemistry, and genetic disposition to influence the development of GAD.

The Role Hormones play

Hormones affect our mood, energy, and psychological susceptibilities particularly the stress hormones, thyroid hormones, and the sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone).

When the production of these key hormones is irregular, either lower or higher than what the body needs, it affects the neurotransmitters that send signals to the brain and relay appropriate responses. This alteration in the neurological function can induce anxiety, lethargy, and other crucial effects in the body.

Cortisol is always known as the stress hormone. It is released by the adrenal glands to the bloodstream in the event that a compromising or stressful condition is experienced by the body in order to remain focused and have ample energy to resolve the source of the stress. It is intended to remain temporarily in the bloodstream otherwise it can aggravate anxiety and potentially interrupt the body’s recovery and healing ability.

Thereby, monitoring the cortisol level along with other hormones is essential in understanding the potential treatment and response the body requires.

What You Can Do

The prescription for medication depends on the assessment of your doctor. Typically, GAD with underlying medical conditions that are critical is provided with appropriate medicines.

Whether or not you undergo treatment with medication, it is essential to understand that a critical factor in dealing with GAD is psychological control over your anxiety. In this sense, you can try the following practical ways to know how you can overcome generalized anxiety disorder.

1.   Seek Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT has been recognized as an effective method of treating different types of anxiety including GAD. It is a psychological approach that aims to relieve the negative cognition and the unstable behaviors that comes along the condition.

A therapist commonly facilitates CBT, but there are several options wherein you can do it on your own.

Self-directed CBT is also deemed to positively respond to the alleviation of anxiety provided that proper conditioning is applied. Self-help books and CBT-techniques found in reliable internet sites are often used as tools in CBT.

However, there are significant data that still suggests that CBT with a therapist is more effective than self-directed CBT.

2.   Shift to a well-balanced diet

Clean and healthy meals guarantee wellness and a normal response to stress. Fruits and vegetables along with other healthy sources of nutrients induce the production of neurotransmitters that regulates mood. In contrast, consuming foods and products that are extremely high in sugars could cause a response similar to a stressful condition as elevated sugar levels can trigger danger in the bloodstream.

Hydration is also crucial and cells are not able to function well in the absence or lack of water. Generally, any conditions that jeopardize the healthy condition of the tissues may trigger anxiety.

That is why it is indispensable to eliminate foods that could trigger anxiety such as processed meat and products, coffee, energy drinks and sodas, alcohol, pastries, and other junk foods. Switch to healthy alternatives and a well-balanced diet.     

3.   Keep an active lifestyle by exercising regularly

Exercise stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that allow healthy brain functions. 

There are a number of research studies that suggest exercise has a positive impact on reducing anxiety as it directly affects the biological and psychological processes of an individual. It

Allot a significant amount of time for exercise and refrain from sitting down for straight hours. 

Physically active people are less likely to develop anxiety and clinical depression compared to sedentary people.

4.   Explore relaxation techniques that fit you

Relaxation is like a reset button that allows your mind to enter a state of calm. Various techniques will allow you to master concentration and the skill of tuning out your fears and anxiety.  

In relieving your stress and anxiety, you can try some of these relaxation techniques that can normalize your stress response.

1.       Mindfulness Meditation

2.       Yoga

3.       Tai chi

4.       Deep breathing exercises

5.       Visualization or guided imagery

5.       Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation is a known culprit in elevating anxiety, general distress, and even clinical depression.

When the body doesn’t get the needed amount of sleep and rest, there are biological and mental consequences that impact the overall function of the tissues and of course the brain itself. 

Just like any machine we know, if the body works nonstop, it can experience an overload that causes hormonal imbalance, memory loss, and confusion.

Adults are recommended to attain 7-9 hours of sleep. In order to gain an ample amount of sleep creates a nightly sleep schedule that you can strictly follow.  

Bottom Line

Are you feeling excessively worried today? Relieve yourself from the troubles of anxiety and seek the treatment you need. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to assess your condition and take the necessary test such as hormone testing as ordered by your physician.

Don’t let GAD hinder your everyday functions. You will not be completely paralyzed by anxiety if you act on it as soon as possible. Take over your anxiety and live your best life.

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