What is GAD?
What is GAD?
GAD stands for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Classified in the category of Anxiety Disorders, such as PTSD and OCD, GAD is one of many issues many Canadians face regarding anxiety.
The first thing you need to understand about anxiety disorders is this: Everyone has worries and anxieties over things in their life. GAD is NOT normal. What I mean by “normal” is that people who have GAD become obsessive over their every day life issues. Remember when Sally criticized you at work? A “normal” person would have forgotten about it in a day or two, someone with GAD obsessives over the comment for an extended period of time, as long as up to six months.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Associated, GAD is defined as the following: “Generalized anxiety disorder is excessive worry around a number of everyday problems for more than six months. This anxiety is often far greater than expected—for example, intense anxiety over a minor concern. Many people experience physical symptoms too, including muscle tension and sleep problems.” (CHMA Website).
GAD is also not just having anxiety over one thing. It’s having constant, stressful anxiety over everything. From work, to kids, to your new job, to your spouse, to the crowd at Wal-Mart, to the fear of having to give a presentation at work. Hence the term “general.” GAD isn’t just set off by one stressor, it is a combination of many.
Like PTSD, and many other panic disorders, GAD has treatment options which can involve counselling, medication, support group, and self-help strategies. Of course, every person is different, so talk to your doctor about the right treatment option for you.
It’s also important for loved ones to get involved with helping the victim treat their illness. The most important thing to remember is that the illness is the problem – don’t blame yourself if a loved one acts out because they are unable to cope with the amount of stress they are feeling. It’s just the illness, not you! If you want to help a loved one, talk to them or your doctor.
It’s also important to remember that GAD going untreated can lead to other mental health problems, leading to more issues, such as depression. If you suspect a loved one needs help, talk to them about it.
And most importantly, if you suspect a loved ones is at risk for suicide or you suspect they are making plans to end their own life, call 911 immediately!
Remember, I am NOT a doctor, I am just living with GAD. If you need more information or help, contact your doctor and learn how you can cope with GAD/ or helped a loved one.
There is lots more to learn about GAD, so do the research and help break down barriers for people living with mental health issues!
Below are some resources for extra research of GAD and other mental health issues:
Anxiety Disorders – Canadian Mental Health Association
Generalized Anxiety Disorders – Canadian Mental Health Association – BC Division
Generalized Anxiety Disorders – Mayo Clinic
5 Things you Need to Know About GAD – Brunet