4 Ways To Manage Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can make life overwhelming when you are constantly worried over everyday stress or anticipate bad things may happen. In some cases, you may have GAD in conjunction with other mental health conditions, such as depression or other anxiety disorders. Although you may feel like GAD has a grasp on your life, there are multiple treatment options to help make the condition more manageable.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an approach used for many types of mental health concerns and is focused on the underlying thoughts and behaviors that facilitate anxiety. For example, you may realize much of your anxiety is rooted in your own negative internal dialogue. If you constantly tell yourself something bad is going to happen, this is part of the negative thought process. You and your therapist can work together to help you overcome these negative thoughts or behaviors. Many of the techniques used in CBT also require you to perform activities or engage in homework as part of your treatment.

Psychiatric Medications

For GAD and other anxiety disorders, the first-line medication is the use of reuptake inhibitors. If you also experience depression, you may find some antidepressants can help both conditions simultaneously. Usually, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first type of reuptake inhibitor prescribed for the management of GAD. If you do not notice any benefits, there are other reuptake inhibitors that affect one or more neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.

Even if you do not achieve complete remission of your anxiety disorder, you may find medication intended for long-term use can make your symptoms more manageable in combination with other treatment approaches. If you experience panic attacks, your psychiatrist may prescribe short or long-acting benzodiazepines until your symptoms stabilize. Unfortunately, benzodiazepines can be habit-forming and they often come with side effects, such a drowsiness, which may impede your daily activities.

Other Medications

If you already have problems with anxiety and have concurrent medical conditions, you may want to talk with your primary care physician about the medications you are taking and how they may impact your anxiety. For example, if you are currently on an ACE inhibitor for hypertension, you may want to discuss the possibility of switching to a beta blocker. Beta blockers are effective for hypertension and other cardiovascular problems, but they have a positive effect of reducing some of the symptoms associated with anxiety, such as heart palpitations.

Some hormones used for birth control, the management of menopausal symptoms or ovarian cysts may enhance anxiety. Similarly, if you are on steroids to reduce inflammation, this can add to your anxiety. Talk with your doctor to determine if there are other options that have less of an impact on your anxiety or if you can lower the dosage of your current medication while continuing to have therapeutic benefits.

Stress-Reduction Techniques

When you are overwhelmed with anxiety, especially if you also deal with panic attacks, learning stress-reduction techniques can seem useless. Although they may not be immediately effective at reducing your anxiety, you may notice with continual practice, episodes of panic or anxiety may become easier to handle. One of the ideal stress-reduction techniques for reducing anxiety is any activity, such as focused breathing, meditation or yoga, through which you become more aware of your body and breathing patterns.

Over time, you may begin to notice subtle changes in your body that indicate you are going to experience a panic attack or a severe bout of anxiety. Noticing small changes in your heart and breathing rate or tension in your muscles can help you focus on your breathing and potentially avoid a full-blown attack. Learning to focus on your breathing is also beneficial, because this stress-reduction technique can be performed quickly and in almost any location, and it is discreet. The ability to clear your mind can also help with intrusive, anxiety-provoking thoughts.

GAD and other anxiety disorders can be difficult to overcome and in some cases, can leave people confined to their homes. Although it is not always possible to completely eliminate your symptoms, in time, you may find a combination of therapy, medication and other techniques help you successfully manage your anxiety.

For more information, go to website featuring professional counselors and contact them about addressing your GAD.