An anxiety disorder may take many forms, manifesting as a continuous experience of anxiety over various potential issues. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are two widely-known variations and there are many others that pertain to social and health-based circumstances. If, however, you are experiencing less-specific worries that are equally persistent, then you may be suffering from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
GAD, similar to some other mental health issues, such as depression, can occasionally be difficult to identify due to broad qualities of its symptoms. The recurring experience of distress and the feeling of uncontrollable worry generally unpin GAD as it affects all aspects of life. Those suffering may find themselves with growing and persistent concerns relating to their home-lives, careers, or social circles, among other aspects. Bouts of anxiety are not necessarily prompted or relate to major circumstances and can occur when considering relatively minor factors, such as cleaning dishes or making a phone call.
Symptoms of GAD and other forms of anxiety may present themselves as such:
Agitation – often from stresses caused by a sense of danger or concern
Fatigue – that may follow a period of severe anxiety or prevent one from sleeping
Restlessness – the feeling of being on the edge or unable to calm oneself
Lack of Concentration – difficulty focussing, often interrupted with other thoughts
Panic Attacks – sudden fear presented often with a tight chest, racing heart, and sweating
Anxiety disorders may also occur as phobias, which is an uncontrollable and extreme fear, typically presented when faced with an object, animal, or environment. Common phobias include spiders (arachnophobia), the dark (nyctophobia), and dogs (cynophobia), however, there are many others and should you experience excessive and ongoing fear in a certain circumstance, then you are likely to have a phobia.
According to the NHS, GAD occurs in 5% of the population, affecting women more often than men. And, as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is both greater risk and increasing cases of anxiety. The resulting effects of coronavirus, those that will continue to play out over the next year, developing from the economic recession, will also contribute to stress and worry as more people begin losing their source of income.
The experience of anxiety can also be identified physically. Sweating, shaking, and hyperventilation, while often indicating a panic attack may also occur generally and more acutely. As with depression, anxiety disorders may also affect the way a person eats, additionally triggering gastrointestinal issues that are byproducts of intense stress and worry.
There are many circumstances that can actively promote anxiety in a person’s life, notably trauma and stress. It is understood that some people are more prone to anxiety, predisposed to worry due to their personality or a preexisting mental issue. The consumption of drugs and alcohol may not only lead to anxiety but, if consumed while suffering from GAD, may also worsen an anxiety disorder.
In order to prevent or overcome an anxiety disorder, it is fundamental that professional support is sought as soon as possible. If time is allowed to pass before seeking help, the issue can become much more severe and difficult to manage.
If you are ready to begin seeking support for your anxiety or would like to arrange an initial consultation session to discuss your wellbeing and circumstances, I am available to contact via phone or email. For detailed information on my therapy services and counselling in Bristol, please visit the Bristol Counselling and Psychotherapy website.