I'm Anxious About Everything

I'm Anxious About Everything

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders, affecting up to 30% of adults at some point in their lives. 

If your feelings of anxiety are related to several areas in your life — including your health, relationships, work, and finances — you may be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

GAD is characterized by the expectation of negative outcomes and excessive worrying that interferes with your daily activities and relationships. 

To help you get a better understanding of how you’re feeling, and whether your feelings of anxiety could be a sign of GAD, we asked our experts at Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness to explain the causes, symptoms, and treatments available for GAD.

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms 

To get diagnosed with generalized anxiety, you must have at least three of the symptoms described below, and have them persist over a period of six months:

These symptoms include:

Some people may also experience somatic symptoms, which include:

Anxiety is a spectrum. Some may find it hard to make a presentation at work, while others may find it hard to leave their house to go grocery shopping. 

Anxiety causes 

The main cause of anxiety is difficult experiences either in childhood or adulthood. During periods of high stress, being hypervigilant and alert can help.

Unfortunately, once there’s no longer a threat, if the conflict remains unresolved, the defense mechanisms that helped cope with traumatic events can become maladaptive. 

For example, many people with anxiety suffer in anticipation of an event that may never happen, simply because they had similar experiences in the past. 

However, trauma isn’t the only cause of anxiety. Genetics and personality type may play a role. Also, some medications can change brain chemistry and cause anxiety, as can long-term use of alcohol and illegal drugs.

Alcohol floods the brain with dopamine, the pleasure hormone in the brain, causing a rush. But after the alcohol is removed from the system, dopamine levels dip below normal levels, causing anxiety. People suffering from anxiety are also more likely to use alcohol to feel the dopamine rush, causing a vicious cycle of ups and downs in their brain chemistry. 

Illegal drugs that fall into the category of stimulants, such as cocaine, can also cause anxiety, even in people who aren’t at risk for it. 

Additionally, legal stimulants, such as ADHD drugs, can increase your risk for anxiety if you’re already prone to developing it. 

Anxiety treatments 

The treatment for anxiety depends on the root cause of the condition, whether it’s caused by a brain chemistry imbalance, substance abuse, or traumatic events. 

The most common and effective treatments for anxiety include psychotherapy and medications. 

There’s also evidence suggesting that practices that teach you to remain grounded in the moment, such as meditation and yoga, can also reduce excessive worry about the future. There are over 200 studies pointing to the positive effects of mindfulness on reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. 

If you suspect that you’re suffering from anxiety, contact us to schedule an appointment. Get a diagnosis and quick relief from your symptoms. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Help! I'm Struggling with Menopause

The transition to menopause is unique for every woman. Some women experience mild symptoms, while others find the changes debilitating. However, there’s hope! Find out how our medical experts can help you manage your menopausal symptoms.

5 Types of Psychotherapy: Which One Is Right for You?

Psychotherapy is a safe space in which you can explore your thoughts and feelings and find tools to better your life. But how do you find the right expert? Learn more about various types of psychotherapy and what issues they address.

When Infertility Leads to Depression

Is the stress of wanting to conceive and undergoing treatments affecting your everyday life? Learn more about how infertility can lead to depression and find out what you can do about it.

5 Signs Your Child Could Be Suffering From ADHD

Do you suspect your child’s behavior can be explained by ADHD? Learn more about ADHD signs, and find out what steps you can take to improve your child’s symptoms and help them live a happier life.