What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Most people will feel worried or anxious from time to time and in some circumstances it can be helpful as it assists us to feel alert and focused. However when a person is experiencing GAD, they feel anxious and worried for a lot of the time and it interferes with their lives.
Who experiences GAD?
Approximately one in seven Australians will experience an anxiety disorder each year. Women are affected more than men and it can occur at any time during the life span from young children to the elderly.
A person who experiences anxiety may also:
- Be very conforming
- Be a perfectionist
- Be unsure of themselves
- Feel the need re-do tasks
- Be seeking regular and frequent approval or reassurance
- Say ‘yes BUT, what if…?’
We all experience worries, doubts, and fears as a part of life but when worries are excessive, intrusive, persistent and debilitating they are no longer within the normal range of concerns and may lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Constant worrying
- Feeling like the worrying is out of your control and you can’t stop it
- Intrusive thoughts which you cannot seem to stop or avoid thinking about
- Becoming distressed with uncertainty
- Persistent feeling of apprehension and dread
- Inability to relax
- Trouble concentrating and focusing on things
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Avoiding situations that make you anxious
- Muscle tightness or body aches
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling edgy, restless, or jumpy
Things that will help you cope with anxiety symptoms
Make sure you have breakfast and have small frequent meals throughout the day to help keep blood sugar levels regulated. Remember your two and five fresh fruit and vegetables each day as well as having some lean protein.
Reduce caffeine and sugar
Caffeine can increase anxiety and it also can interfere with sleep. Spikes and crashes in blood sugar can leave you feeling like you are riding an emotional roller coaster.
Take daily exercise
Exercise is known to be a great natural treatment for anxiety. Try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day. This helps to relieve tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy and releases endorphins which are the brain’s feel-good chemicals.
Avoid alcohol and nicotine
Alcohol can feel like it temporarily reduces anxiety however it actually exacerbates anxiety symptoms as it wears off. Smoking doesn’t mix well with anxiety either as it is a powerful stimulant and increases levels of anxiety.
Natural Therapies – complimentary medicine
There are number of great natural therapies and herbal supplements that are proven to help with anxiety symptoms. Speak with a naturopath, acupuncturist or other natural health professional for assistance.
Seek professional help
If self -help strategies aren’t enough then you may need to get some professional help.
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