GAD = Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Repost: I originally did this piece in 2019 – Its a good resource and general information for General Anxiety Disorder. Thanks for supporting my blog, enjoy todays post.

Let me start this post off with a link to a great resource the Anxiety and Depression Association of America . This site has excellent information for anyone who thinks they have an anxiety disorder or knows they do and you just need more information. This website has a lot of information and resources and can assist with a multitude of issues. I strongly recommend taking a look at the site and the reference material it offers.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is essentially a catch all for nonspecific anxiety triggers most of us call them phobias. “GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms” . When I read this I realized that at several points in my life this applied to me. GAD isn’t a constant condition it can come and go but I’ve found in my travels that more often than not it is always present just to varying degrees.

“GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.”

I thought this excerpt from the site was particularly potent. 6.8 million adults… Ya we aren’t alone. I found it very interesting that they claim women are twice as likely to be affected. I can logically extrapolate some instances why, pregnancy, physical appearance and family pressures come to mind. The worse part though is the multitude of factors and the lack of specificity as to why this occurs.

Essentially anything can trigger this, maybe you went to a concert Saturday and your ears were ringing when you got up the next day “am I going to go deaf?” you ask yourself. A common seemingly sterile situation right? So the next time you don’t hear something correctly are you now delving back into anxiety? Technically yes, again its degree’s but you are anxious about a future outcome based on an example of the past. You can’t absolutely say that your past experience will be identical to your future outcome but it’s your best gauge.

Then you begin to think “god if I just didn’t go to that concert I wouldn’t have this issue” and on and on it goes. That’s just one very simple example but it’s a prelude to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There is no definitive moment as to when it begins for anyone, but when you are “in the moments” of anxiety you know it. The sensations are unique to everyone but if you’ve had panic attacks you know the gambit it can run. You can be highly functional and then for days struggle to get out of bed because you can’t overcome the anxiety.

Then, one day you feel good. Not perfect, not “wow that was silly I am free and clear” but the fog clears for you and you go on without worrying about it at all. This is GAD and it can flip day to day, week to week for your entire life. Knowledge is power and remember you aren’t alone.

A new medication for anxiety?

This was an unexpected find. So as I read more and more about anxiety I realize that there are some very extreme technical concepts associated with diagnosis and treatment. As an example I’ve learned about the amygdala which is part of the limbic system that participates in the processing of fear. So what does this have to do with a Tuberculosis medication?

Well D-Cyloserine is a medication that helps prevent the growth of bacterial walls. It is used a lot in Tuberculosis treatments but according to the article here it also influences the Amygdala, which helps to regulate fear in your mind.

From the article: “Multiple studies have shown that DCS can help cement the safety learning that takes place during psychotherapy sessions that involve exposure therapy,” says Jasper Smits, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, who led the study in JAMA Network Open. “The question is can we tailor this approach to be more effective for each patient?”

So most of us know or at least have heard of exposure therapy. It’s exactly like it sounds so if you are afraid of say “ice cubes” in exposure therapy you would be exposed to ice cubes. The key here is that there is evidence to suggest that d-cycloserine can in fact help the patient engage in the exposure by decreasing anxiety.

There are all sorts of anxieties out there, intrusive thoughts, phobias,PTSD on and on. Anxiety brought on by fears due to phobias is pretty well documented. Fear of flying, drowning, spiders the list is pretty long. If we can get to a point where patients who suffer with these fears can enter into exposure therapies the potential outcomes are very positive. This may seem abstract or outside the normal realm of traditional anxiety issues.

That said Anxiety, over time normally compounds and has its source in some event that induced a remarkable amount of fear in the individual. Yes there are chemical and emotional reasons outside of some “event” but the bottom line here is we may have a gateway to getting more people treatment. Isn’t that the end game for anxiety issues?

If you can “face your fears” (for lack of a better term) the outcome might be life changing. Anyway the article is a pretty short read and sub links out to more formal studies and individuals in the scope of the context of the work. IF your anxiety is derived from a phobia it might be worth looking into this and sharing this with your health care professional.

Interested in more articles about anxiety? Check out my post here.