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On the Way of Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Anxiety is a feeling of constant fear that often has no reasonable grounds for its occurrence. It is characterized by a considerable number of psychological symptoms such as stress, irritability, and sweating. It serves as a motivation to deal with different problems, but abnormal functioning of it leads to a serious disorder that manifests in almost one third of the Earth's population.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a common type of mental illnesses that is characterized by mood dysfunction and numerous non-specific worries that prevents a person from living a normal life.

When does GAD start to ruin normal life?

Doctors diagnose someone with GAD when the symptoms are consistent for more than six months. Every-day lives of such people are influenced by constant fear, worries, and tensions. They persistently think of problems that may happen, even if they are highly unlikely. Common worries are related to money, health, family problems, difficulties at work, and even mundane tasks and chores.

Constant engagement in these problems results in two classes of serious disturbances.

  • Physical:

Various physical symptoms affect the whole organism such as headaches, muscle tension and aches, difficulty with swallowing and breathing, irritability, nausea, insomnia, migraines, trembling, sweating, and hot flashes.

  • Psychological:

Psychological symptoms include all kinds of unpleasant feelings, difficulty in relaxing, inability to control anxiety, fidgeting, lack of concentration, low attention spans, and fear of rejection. Since GAD is common mostly among children and teenagers, there are specific worries attributed to them. Teenagers hold uncontrollable worries mostly linked with family, the future, and social relationships. Peer pressure and bullying are main reasons for the accelerated development of this mental disorder.

Who are the targets of generalized anxiety disorder?
AnxietyGAD is prevalent all around the world, but the highest levels of occurrences lie in European countries and the United States of America. It affects approximately 7 million American adults, and is more frequent in women than in men (practically two times the amount). It develops gradually and starts early, having roots in childhood. GAD can be activated in any period of life due to the genetic predisposition, multiplied by various reasons including constant stress. However, the most vulnerable period lies in early adulthood when youngsters transition into adult life.

Is GAD treatable?

While it is true that different lifestyles and family support aid in preventing and decreasing the level of anxiety, it is also true in some cases that this type of disorder is so complex that it can only be completely treated with the use of different strategies. The most important step to treating this disorder is the use of proper medications.

Drugs that are suitable for a particular patient should be prescribed only by a qualified doctor, who is usually a personal psychiatrist. Basic medications are subdivided into antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and natural beta-blockers that control some serious physical symptoms.

Are there any new developments in the GAD treatment?

Recent research has approved new antidepressants for diminishing GAD symptoms. They belong to the SSRI-group, which is defined as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. SSRI antidepressants work on the neuron level, affecting the neurotransmitters of serotonin in the brain. It aims to improve communication between the brain cells. Venlafaxine is a drug especially created to treat GAD. It should be taken in low doses with consequent increasing until the positive effects are obtained. Another benefit of new medication is that they produce noticeably fewer side effects in comparison with old antidepressants.