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The Symptoms of Anxiety


by Maria Simon

Generalised anxiety disorder (or GAD) is characterised by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry.
People with symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school. In people with GAD, the worry often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person’s thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities, and relationships. GAD affects the way a person thinks, but the anxiety can lead to physical symptoms as well.

Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder can include:
  • excessive ongoing worry and tension
  • an unrealistic view of problems
  • restlessness or a feeling of being “edgy”
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • headaches
  • sweating
  • difficulty concentrating
  • nausea
  • the need to go to the bathroom frequently
  • tiredness
  • trouble falling or staying asleep
  • trembling
  • being easily startled

In addition, people with GAD often have other anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and phobias) suffer from depression and/or abuse drug and/or alcohol.


Treating Anxiety

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) helps brings about the awareness of how your thoughts create your anxious feelings which then will result in how you react (your behaviour) . CBT teaches you to learn to recognise these distorted thinking patterns then to change them to more rational and realistic thoughts which will then change how you feel and change what you then do. This is likely to result in less worry and anxiety.

In addition, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, coping imagery and visualisation, may help to control the muscle tension that often accompanies anxiety.
Article posted 8 December 2013

Maria Simon is a counsellor and group facilitator with a pirvate practice in Birkenhead on Auckland's North Shore   arrow-10 find out more