Intense and pervasive, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) has a real impact on the daily lives of those who suffer from it.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, permanent, and uncontrollable worrying. It differs from classic anxiety, which manifests itself in certain everyday situations, by its intensity, frequency and invasive aspect.

This disorder, which affects more women than men, manifests itself mainly in early adulthood or between 30 and 40 years. It is often associated with panic disorders, social anxiety or even depression .

Tension, insomnia, difficulty concentrating

People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder are not able to assess risks when faced with any situation. Result: these risks are overestimated.

Intrusive thoughts then loop in their head and unpleasant emotions overwhelm them. This can lead to somatizations, such as tightness, headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating or even insomnia . A phenomenon which has repercussions on their daily life.

People with generalized anxiety disorder suffer from a desire to be in control, and therefore a lack of flexibility, which makes even the smallest change difficult to manage. Their social functioning is ultimately altered.

Escape from the fears

To make the diagnosis of GAD, the psychiatrist or psychologist carries out a clinical expertise, but can also use the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

“For example, I ask my patients to list all the concerns felt during the week and I help them identify the avoidance strategies or neutralizations put in place to escape these anxieties”

Help patients streamline

The cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be effective for treating generalized anxiety disorder. Delphine Py thus works on cognitive restructuring or cognitive defusion, which consists of letting go of one’s thoughts in order to let go.

Through small exercises or challenges (example: going to a restaurant without having made a reservation), she works on tools for managing emotions, in order to increase the level of tolerance to uncertainty in her patients. It helps them to reassess their usefulness to worry and to rationalize.

Relaxation, hypnosis or breathing exercises can also be good tools to manage generalized anxiety disorder.

Image source: ThinStock

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