Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#Generalized Anxiety Disorder

It is natural to be anxious when you have a tough task staring you in the face,when a huge life change is imminent,when the work-load on your shoulders is heavy, or when you or a dear one is diagnosed with a chronic disease.Yes all such and many other situations generate anxiety, but these difficulties do not confront us everyday.Yet there are some persons who are anxious every day,most of the time.Nervy and worried,they are fearful that something bad will happen to disrupt the tenor of their life.The extent and degree of their anxiety is not at all in consonance with external factors.They imagine the worst possible scenarios at the slightest pretext.Or they feel something is wrong but cannot pinpoint what.This is known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD ) or free floating anxiety.

Let me share Rohit's case with you.He was eighteen years old and studying in a college.Good in studies, but very unhappy.He had a girl friend Rupa, but he was always afraid that a smarter boy would whisk her away.He also had issues about his looks-that his hair was thinning and who would give him a second glance if he went bald.He was not happy with his height or complexion either.I delved into his past and came to know that since his parents lived in a village,he had been sent to his uncle's home in a city to be educated.His uncle derided and reprimanded him no matter what he did.He was compared unfavorably with his cousins.As a result a feeling of inferiority lodged itself in his mind.It obstructed him from appreciating and enjoying the good things in his life.He was neither happy with his present,nor hopeful of his future.
Or take the case of Rita.She was starved of love,care and attention as a child.She strove to do well,be a model child;but it was never enough to extract a loving word or appreciation from her parents.However her diligence opened up excellent career opportunities for her and she married a loving boy.You would think that she was happy now, but this was not the case.She had a niggling feeling that her husband would break off with her and she would be left all alone.She could not believe her good luck would last.Result?
GAD or free floating anxiety .
  1. GAD can also have a number of physical symptoms, including:
    • dizziness.
    • tiredness.
    • a noticeably strong, fast or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
    • muscle aches and tension.
    • trembling or shaking.
    • dry mouth.
    • excessive sweating.
    • shortness of breath.
  2. Generalised anxiety disorder in adults - Symptoms - NHS ...

Causes of GAD
Neurotransmitters--An imbalance in neurotransmitters can cause anxiety;but anxiety itself can also cause this imbalance.
Life experiences like childhood emotional abuse,rape,divorce,early loss of dear persons or some other trauma.
Family history--Whether a repetition of anxiety disorder in families is because of genes or a mere emulation of the behavior pattern of a close relative is not clear;but it has been seen that anxiety disorders can run in families.
Substance abuse and the effect of certain medicines can also cause free floating anxiety.
Long term stress can also result in excessive anxiety.
Certain diseases  like hypothyroidism, heart disease or a chronic illness too can cause anxiety.

Anxiety arising from specific triggers is easier to control because the cause can be identified and addressed.A perennial state of despondence is harder to jettison because very often the patient does not even realize that she has this condition and it should be rectified.She may accept it as just being her nature and not an ailment.

Sometimes if anxiety is manifested in the form of only one physical symptom,and not many as shown above;it may be viewed only as a physical illness --thereby delaying treatment.

As far as treatment is concerned cognitive behavior therapy is the first choice of experts.The therapist assists the patient to identify the negative thoughts and beliefs which distort her behavior.For example if Rita (in the example above ),had introspected and realized that her forebodings were only a replay of her childhood insecurities and frustrations,she would have learned to be more confident and eased her anxiety step by step.

Exercise is extremely effective for eliminating anxiety.It burns off surplus nervous energy and stimulates the release of neurotransmitters,which makes you calmer.

Yoga and meditation also help to erase anxiety.

Medicines can regulate the neurotransmitters but this can also be achieved through exercise;and without any side effects too.

Elimination of GAD requires sustained efforts because by the time it is found out, it has already taken firm roots in the patient's psyche.However the rewards are well worth the labor.Enhanced peace of mind is the first fruit followed by restful sleep,better health and a confident state of mind.Once you have taken care of free floating anxiety,you are better equipped to face the problems which crop up from time to time :-).   

Image from google search.


  1. The psychological reasons for anxiety create a lack of sense of self-worth. The eternal "I do not deserve what I have" feeling creates a sense of imminence about losing what you have.

  2. Thank you for sharing all this wonderful information, Indu.

  3. It depends upon a set of given circumstances.
    I do get anxious if I am unable to keep up with an appointment or an issue concerning my children.That is quite natural and mustn't need any treatment.

    1. Certainly Chowlaji,we all worry if something is amiss.
      But anxious all the time without any reason--that requires treatment.

  4. Thank you, Ma'am for such an insightful update on the topic. The process of developing a positive attitude and overcoming negative things such as fear of failing, is very long and tedious. But we can start by thinking positive. :)

    1. I am very happy to see you here Akshay,how are you doing?

      Yes fear of failing--i am familiar with that--it stopped me from reaching my full potential while the time was most suitable.Sad:(
      But you are young and aware of it too.You will achieve.

  5. Nice article. Very useful. I think I have the tendency to get anxious all the time - maybe I should try to exercising my anxiety away.

    1. Glad you liked it Karthik.Yes exercise is very very effective.
      Good Night!

  6. I am quite anxious by nature ... But I think I am now in a stage when I am quite conscious about it ... i know when I am being anxious about something very unlikely to happen...Hence it's easier to tackle it :)

  7. It's amazing how much we flog ourselves with our past. I go through anxiety phases as well but at the back of my mind I know these are just unfounded fears.

    1. You know Purba,this is one place where forgetfulness helps.As someone said--happiness is =sound health + weak memory.

  8. There was a time Indu ji when I could have become a role model for this post of yours for the type of cases you have mentioned in fact I could replace Rita BUT my mother stood by me and always kept on telling me that I was good and talented and she gave me all the freedom and resources to join various classes and learn various skills --- which would give me a lot of self esteem and it did help me a lot

    and I agree with all that you have said specially the methods to fight GAD and yes YOGA is very beneficial and a walk helps one a lot to ease the mind ---a walk is the best way of introspecting ad relaxing and also determining ones plans

    Once again THANKYOU for this post relevant and useful as always

    lots and lots of love

    1. I love your inputs Rajni and always look forward to them.
      It is really commendable how your mom stood by you and you fought for your self concept.
      I too feel that taking a walk clears up thinking.
      Thank you Rajni.
      Love n hugs.

  9. I hope Rohit is fictional. I know many people suffer from such problems. Life should not to be taken that seriously and we shouldn't micro analyze our lives.

    1. No Saru,he is not fictional.I think it is a mistake to separate your child from you.Thanks for coming over.
      Love n hugs.


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