Anxiety is very prevalent today and can dramatically affect your health. Heart disease, ulcers and breathing problems and other health issues are associated with anxiety. It’s normal to worry and its extremely difficult to avoid worrying about issues such as finances, relationships, and health. But if you’re experiencing uncontrolled, irrational or excessive anxiety, you could be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
GAD can result in social, physical and occupational impairment. Some of the signs of this type of anxiety are feeling restless or keyed up, being irritable, having difficulty concentrating, battling to fall asleep, making endless lists and over-planning. A sudden flood of anxiety results in shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, heart palpitations and muscle tension. These symptoms are experienced as part of the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Cognitive behavior therapy may help people to gain control over excessive worrying. They are taught skills to manage anxiety and learn how to take control of their thoughts by actively identifying and challenging them. Those who have GAD often overestimate or underestimate situations. They prepare for the worst and anticipate disaster or underestimate their ability to cope. They can learn how to recognize these thoughts, identify what evidence exists to warrant them, examine whether they are realistic and identify realistic alternatives.
Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, are also used to help control the physical tension that comes with anxiety. Medication may be used, along with cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation and deep breathing techniques to help control anxiety. Exercise is also helpful in managing anxiety as it releases brain chemicals that counteract it. People are taught how to gradually confront situations rather than avoiding them due to the anxiety they provoke
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