Generalized Anxiety Disorder - Brief Overview
Does Anxiety Paralyze You?
Anxiety Disorders - Life Inside a Mental Prison
So many people live their lives bogged down by fear, worry and anxiety. They allow it to affect them to such a high degree that it interferes with their work, school, life and ability to function as a happy, whole person. They may wish to stop whatever those things are that have taken control of their lives - but there is a deeper issue at work.
These people are suffering from a mental illness called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - a condition that is rooted in a need for control, a need for acceptance and/or a need to cope. To work through the fear at the heart of these feelings and issues takes courage. But the alternative is to live a life trapped in your own mental hell.
About Generalized Anxiety Disorder
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost seven million adults suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder every year. GAD is a chronic condition where a person lives with anxiety, worry and tension, even when there is no reason for it. This fear is accompanied by a variety of physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, pain, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, hot flashes and more. It is as if the person lives in a state of fight or flight. It is paralyzing.
Social Anxiety Can Make It Extremely Difficult to Be Around Others
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Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized anxiety disorder is often broken down into sub-categories. These include:
- Panic Disorder- a debilitating condition where a person is seized suddenly by intense feelings of terror, fear and loss of control; it is accompanied by a racing heart, hot flashes, weakness, fainting, and fatigue
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- this condition plagues a person with incessant, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors; these can include such actions as repetitive hand washing, counting, cleaning or checking things; the person associates these rituals will prevent negative actions
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- this disorder stems from a terrifying, frightening event in a person's life or the result of a serious accident; this person suffers from extremely realistic flashbacks, nightmares and night terrors that bring them back to the traumatic event; they often turn to disassociative tendencies to prevent the flashbacks
- Agoraphobia- this anxiety disorder is caused by a great fear of people, public places and even leaving the house; they associate these things with danger, evil and harm; for people with social phobia, having to be around others is sheer torture
- Other Phobias- agoraphobia is a fear of people and places, but it isn't the only anxiety disorder associated with strong, unwarranted fears; many people suffering from GAD experience phobias of a variety of things, but the route of the fear is always deeper
The Root of Anxiety
All of these disorders have at their base fear, worry and anxiety. These can be difficult to overcome once the person has allowed them to overcome their life. When those negative feelings take on larger-than-life proportions, they produce feelings of panic and dread - even on a day when the sky is blue, the air is clean, the sun is shining. These feelings engulf the individual even when there is nothing to worry about.
Separating Reasonable and Unreasonable Fears
Fear and anxiety have a purpose, but that purpose is not to overcome us and make us feel powerless. The purpose of these emotions are to help us, not paralyze us. Fear is not a bad thing. In fact, reasonable fear is a strong motivator, a way to protect us and keep us safe from harm. This type of fear is based upon collective wisdom and personal experience. This fear is purposeful.
Unreasonable fear is fear that is outside its boundaries - fear that is unwarranted with no connection to reality. Unreasonable fear says that doom is always around the corner. It demands a preeminent place in our lives, dictating what we will do, where we will go, how we will feel, what we will forfeit and what we will value. Unreasonable fear is our creation, and something we can stop.
Anxiety is an Unnecessary Wall We Put Up to Protect Ourselves
Do you suffer from anxiety?
Life with an Anxiety Disorder
It is appropriate to fear that which has power over us. The challenge comes in knowing exactly what that is. People with anxiety disorders fear everything and everyone around them. Life itself is paralyzing. Those with generalized anxiety disorder live daily lives keeping their eyes to the ground, watching for any signs of something to fear or worry about. This produces a life spent fearing the wrong things and suffering because of it - as well as a life missing the right things, the beautiful things and the important things.