Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can be defined as a disorder in which the sufferer feels in a constant state of high anxiety and is often known as ‘chronic worrying’ or a ‘free floating’ anxiety condition.
People who suffer with GAD often describe themselves as suffering with ‘free floating anxiety’ which can be likened to the ‘whack the crocodile’ game at an arcade – they resolve one issue but no sooner has this been done when another worry pops up. Racing thoughts, loss of concentration, and an inability to focus are also characteristic of GAD.
We all suffer with worry from time to time, but the thing that makes GAD different from “normal worry” is that the worry is prolonged (it lasts for over 6 months), and the level of worry is out of proportion to the risk. For example, if a partner is an hour late from work (without calling) a GAD sufferer may think ‘they must have had an accident’, rather than any other just as likely scenario, e.g. ‘they have been delayed in traffic’ or ‘they have popped to the pub with a colleague’. These thoughts can be described as ‘catastrophising,’ or jumping to the worst possible conclusion.
GAD is a particularly difficult disorder to live with as it is constantly on the sufferer”s mind – there is no respite as the anxiety is not tied to a specific situation or event. It can cause problems with sleep, ability to maintain a job as well as impact close relationships.
DIY self diagnosis
If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by GAD.
During the past 6 months:-
- Do you feel that you have been nervous/on edge most days over the past 6 months?
- Did you have problems falling asleep
- Did you feel tension in your muscles because of feeling on edge?
- Did you frequently feel tense and irritable?
Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.
If you would like support with GAD please get in touch