Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is experienced as excessive and distressing levels of persistent worry and fear. It is a common condition estimated to affect about 1 in every 25 people in the UK, and is most common among those aged between 35 and 55 years. GAD often involves a whirlwind of negative thoughts, images and doubts about future things that may never happen. The consequence of persistent worrying can be an overwhelming fear or dread. GAD can be difficult for sufferers because the direction or focus of the worry or dread can be confusing, i.e. unlike a dog or lift phobia, the focus of worry may not always be clear. Also, not knowing what triggers this anxiety can intensify it as sufferers may start to worry that there will be no solution.
The symptoms of GAD vary between people, but they can include:
Everyone has negative thoughts or worries, but with GAD, worries can be excessive or disproportionate to one or more areas of life, such as work, health, social relationships, or financial matters. Indeed extreme worrying almost every day for six months or more may indicate GAD. Additionally, those with GAD symptoms often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. GAD is highly treatable. Also, this tendency towards worrying is not part of your personality nor something that should be accepted as being inevitable. Talk to us, or your GP, to get further information and a definite diagnosis.