Anxiety Disorders categorize a large number of disorders where the primary feature is abnormal or inappropriate anxiety. Everybody has experienced anxiety. Think about the last time a loud noise frightened you and remember the feelings inside your body. Chances are you experienced an increased heart rate, tensed muscles, and perhaps an acute sense of focus as you tried to determine the source of the noise. These are all symptoms of anxiety. They are also part of a normal process in our bodies called the ‘fight or flight’ phenomenon. This means that your body is preparing itself to either fight or protect itself or to flee a dangerous situation.
As its name implies, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is evidenced by general feelings of anxiety such as mild heart palpitations, dizziness, and excessive worry. The symptoms are difficult to control for the individual, thoughts are intently focused and rapidly reoccur despite efforts to ignore or find distraction to end the cycling of unpleasant thoughts.
Medication and/or psychotherapy have been found to be helpful, especially therapy aimed at teaching the client how to gain control over the symptoms. Relaxation techniques can be taught to the individual to provide momentary and longer term relief from the physical responses to anxiety. While medication should be thoughtfully considered, its combination with talk therapy has shown to bring about significantly improved outcomes for clients.