General Anxiety Disorder: A Dread Of Living

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All of us experience anxiety some of the time. The world is a difficult, dangerous, unpredictable place. Nothing is constant, everything is always changing. Indeed, the only constant that we have is the certainty of death (and taxes). In fact, if pressed, most people would characterise anxiety as one of the dominant underlying emotions in their life.

However, in an unfortunate few (approximately 5% of the UK’s population), that underlying anxiety has a terrible habit of constantly coming to the surface. This phenomenon is called general anxiety disorder, or generalised anxiety disorder, one of the most pervasive, hardest-to-treat of the anxiety disorders recognised by the mental health profession.

Generalised anxiety disorder is a condition whose sufferers find themselves worrying about every little thing. For people with generalised anxiety disorder, fear is fact of life. If there isn’t something to worry about, the sufferer of generalised anxiety disorder will invent something.

People with generalised anxiety disorder spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about their health, whether or not they have enough money, whether or not other people like them, whether or not they will be perceived as normal, and whether or not they are performing well at work or school. These people worry so much even about mundane matters, that just getting through the day becomes a taxing and stressful adventure. Often people with severe generalised anxiety find themselves having to quit their work or school.

In relationships, these people can be needy, high-maintenance, and domineering. Often, these fears that dominate these people’s lives make them hurt others. For example, politicians can pressure these people to vote for an aggressive foreign policy, using rhetoric of a potential invasion to prey on their pre-existing tendency to panic. An example closer to home: people with severe chronic anxiety can hurt their own children. It is not unusual for children of parents with severe anxiety problems to report never having a birthday party–the perceived responsibility of having to organise and be responsible for an event involving other people’s children was simply too much for these anxious parents.

Sufferers of generalised anxiety disorder often report physical symptoms, accompanying their mental unease. Irritable bladders, miscellaneous muscle pains, serious muscle tension, insomnia, and hot flashes are typical physical signs of generalised anxiety disorder.

Generalised anxiety disorder affects more women than men. Unsurprisingly, 58% of people who suffer from depression also have generalised anxiety disorder, according to a US survey.

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1 Comment

  1. panicattacksfree
    Posted December 9, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this blog. You are a great blogger.
    I’ve kept diaries and journals since age 10. Now that I’m focused on recovery from panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic attacks, my journal is even more valuable.

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