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Generalized anxiety disorder

Video transcript

so think about the last time you took a big exam you probably got pretty nervous about it right anxious maybe right before the exam well this is completely normal and might even be useful in some situations because it can make you more alert and more careful after the test though you might kick back and breathe a sigh of relief and then the stress goes away right for some people about 3% of the population that stress doesn't go away and at this point the stress is considered to be anxiety this anxiety also might get worse over time and cause things like chest pain or nightmares it might even cause you to not want to leave the home and at this point where it starts to interfere with your daily life like work school and relationships we might even call it an anxiety disorder now one particular type of anxiety disorder is generalized anxiety disorder or GA D this step is characterized by anxiety about everyday things things like money health family work and relationships sometimes even the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety and it's this anxiety as opposed to like normal anxiety that everybody feels has three main pieces the first is that it's persistent meaning that it doesn't seem to go away the second is that it's excessive so it's usually way more than someone else might have given that situation and third it's typically pretty unreasonable as in there really isn't any reason to worry about whatever you're worrying about now people with GID might even be aware that these worries are excessive and unreasonable but they don't know how to stop feeling like this or feel like it's completely beyond their control some people with mild GID might be able to function socially and hold down a job but others with severe GID might have trouble with the simplest of daily activities so what causes one person to have GID and one person did not have GID ultimately as is the case with many psychological disorders we don't know genes though are thought to play a role since sometimes it runs in families and also the environment you're in especially if high levels of stress are involved also several parts of the brain have been linked to fear and anxiety and continued research into these areas may provide some clues in the future about gid alright so how might we know that someone has GID what are the signs and symptoms well the main symptom is frequent worry and tension or stress for a little to no reason other symptoms might include things like edginess or restlessness or an impaired concentration or feeling like your mind just goes blank and then also irritability and these psychological symptoms can even be severe enough to lead to physical symptoms like difficulty sleeping and this is one of the biggest physical complaints of people with generalized anxiety disorder our bodies need to recharge when we sleep right with that said insomnia can take this serious toll on your physical health which means your body isn't functioning at its optimal levels is it besides insomnia though another physical symptom might be digestive problems chronic stress may lead to eating more or less than normal and many people even experience diarrhea or constipation as a result and finally muscle aches and soreness is also a pretty common symptom of gid this happens from increased muscle tension because people with anxiety carry around this tension in their bodies which can lead to tense shoulders back jaws and muscles and this can even manifest as clenched jaws or teeth grinding over all these physical and mental symptoms usually come about gradually typically starting in the teen years or young adulthood but over time they have this serious impact on your well-being additionally there might be periods where symptoms seem to be worse or they might get worse during periods of high stress unfortunately there aren't any tests that will tell you whether you have gid or not and a proper diagnosis will be based on a medical professionals questions about your symptoms so from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for mental disorders the fifth edition or the dsm-5 the following criteria are given for a diagnosis of GA d excessive anxiety and worry is present and occurs more often than not for at least six months and is clearly excessive and then the other one is anxiety and worry is associated with at least three of the symptoms that we went through and in children only one symptom is needed for a diagnosis and once it's been diagnosed we're going to look to treatments right and gid will often be treated with psychotherapy medication or both specifically within psychotherapy will often try something called cognitive behavior therapy which is really useful for treating GID since it tries to teach you different ways of thinking behaving and reacting to situations that reduce your feelings of anxiety and worry and the other form of treatment is medication and there are two types that are usually focused on and the first are anti-anxiety medications these tend to slow down our central nervous system so our brain and so they have this kind of like relaxing and calming effect typically anti-anxiety medications are benzodiazepines apart from those though antidepressants can also be prescribed and these are approved for depression but have also been found to be effective for treatment of anxiety as well the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or more commonly just called SSRIs these guys work to regulate serotonin levels in our brain and elevate your mood knowing that these treatments exist some people respond better to cognitive behavior therapy alone and some respond better to medications alone while still others respond best when both are used together it totally depends on the patient and so it needs to be tailored on a case-by-case basis