DOES IT SOUND LIKE YOU?
Do you worry all the time? Please identify whether the following statements represent how you might have been feeling over the last six months.
- I never stop worrying about things big and small
- I have headaches and other aches and pains for no reason
- I am tense a lot and have trouble relaxing
- I have trouble keeping my mind on one thing
- I get crabby and grouchy
- I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- I sweat and have hot flashes
- I sometimes have a lump in my throat or feel like I need to throw up when I am worried
If you can relate with some of these statements, you may have GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER (GAD).
1. WHAT IS GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER (GAD)?
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a condition that can be treated with medicine and therapy. If you have GAD, you worry all the time about your family, health or work, even when there are no signs of trouble. Sometimes you aren’t worried about anything special, but feel tense and worried all day long. You also have aches and pains for no reason and feel tired a lot.
Everyone gets worried sometimes, but if you have GAD, you stay worried, fear the worst will happen and cannot relax.
2. WHEN DOES GAD START AND HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Most often GAD starts when a person is still a child or teenager. It can start in an adult too. Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is most common in people in their 20s.
People with GAD may visit their GP many times before they find out what their real illness is. They ask their GP to help them with the signs of GAD like headaches or trouble falling asleep, but don’t get help for this condition itself.
3. AM I THE ONLY ONE WITH THIS PROBLEM?
No! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!GAD affects about 1 in 20 adults in Britain.
4. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MYSELF?
a) Talk to your GP about your constant worry and tension.
Tell your GP about any other signs of GAD that you may have, such as aches and pains for no reason or trouble sleeping. Tell your GP if these problems keep you from doing everyday things and living your life. Ask your GP for a check up to make sure you don’t have a different illness.
b) Ask your GP if he or she has helped other people with GAD.
Special training helps mental health professionals treat people with GAD. Ask your GP for the name of a psychotherapist or counsellor who does.
c) Get more information
5. WHAT CAN A GP OR COUNSELLOR DO TO HELP ME?
a) The GP may give you medicine. But it may take a few weeks for the medicine to work.
b) Talking to a specially trained psychotherapist or counsellor helps many people with GAD. This is called “therapy”. Therapy can help you learn to deal with your worries.
HERE IS ONE PERSON’S STORY:
“I was worried all the time, about everything. It didn’t matter that there were no signs of problems, I just got upset. I was having trouble falling asleep at night and I couldn’t keep my mind focused at work. I felt angry at my family all the time.
Finally I saw my GP and explained about my constant worries. My GP sent me to someone who knows about GAD. Now I am taking medicine and working with a counsellor to cope better with my worries. I had to work hard, but I feel better. I’m glad I made that first call to my GP”.
REMEMBER – YOU CAN GET HELP NOW:
a) Talk to your GP about your fears and worries
b) Consult with a counsellor/ psychotherapist.