I do not have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), however I do live with anxiety. In order be diagnosed with GAD a person must meet the following criteria (Pearson Clinical):
- Excessive anxiety and worry about various aspects of life occurring more often than not for at least a six month period.
- Find it difficult to control the worry.
- The anxiety/worry is associated with at at least three of the six below (and occur more often than not for at least six months)
- Restlessness, feeling “keyed up”, or on edge
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
- Anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms causing significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- Not caused by a factor such as drug or alcohol use.
- The symptoms are not better explained by another diagnosis
The video below shares the experience of one person with GAD.
Jessii’s experience shows how beneficial therapy can be in treating GAD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is often a recommended first step in treatment for this condition. Counseling may be done on it’s own, or with medications.
Primary care doctors often treat people for their anxiety and depression. If a primary care doc does not feel qualified to treat the condition or if there have been failed medication trial, they may refer you to a psychiatrist.
GAD is a chronic illness that will require maintenance. Just as someone with high blood pressure has to take their medication daily, someone with GAD may need to do so as well. Occasional CBT follow ups can be helpful for many people to maintain their symptoms.
For more information about treatment options you can look at this from the National Institute of Health (NIH)