Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
The thoughts are racing and unstoppable – something awful might happen. What would I do? What
could I do? What can I do? ... What if?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) involves long-lasting exaggerated and unrealistic worry, mainly over things pertaining to the health and
personal safety of our self and family members. It is often accompanied by general feelings of apprehension and being 'on-edge' for much of
Having GAD is like being in a constant state of 'what if...?' We experience increased, persistent anxiety (seemingly
for no apparent reason) and so live in a constant state of apprehension and fear over something bad happening.
Physically, we frequently feel 'on-edge' and 'jittery' and live in a state of increased tension. Our senses, heart rate
and blood pressure are higher than normal. Over time this state of increased physiological arousal often leads to
fatigue, lethargy and feeling generally 'run down' which can result in constant colds, flus and illness. After a while, being in a state
of constant tension can cause numerous body aches and pains.
Mentally, the excessive feelings of anxiety result in constant worrying ("we are so anxious... why? What's going to
happen? What can I do about it?") and we start to obsess uncontrollably about bad things that may happen.
This worry can be about many things: bad things that may happen in the future or may happen because of something we have done in the past. A
common worry revolves around the greatest fear that almost everyone has deep down, that is the fear that something awful may happen to our
Generalized anxiety disorder can be wholly explained by the natural role of anxiety which is a series of instinctual
thoughts, feelings and behaviours that have evolved over time and serve to protect us from being hurt.
Anxiety protects us in two main ways:-
1. It prepares us physically to either fight or run away, the fight-or-flight response. This is responsible for the
physical symptoms such as: fast heartbeat and breathing, trembling and shaking, sweating, nausea and difficulty
"A state of uneasiness or tension caused by apprehension of possible misfortune, danger etc."
And to be anxious is to be "worried and tense"
(Collins English Dictionary)
Medical Definition of a Disorder:-
"an illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions"