What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder? Learn About the Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options in Boise, Idaho

The world can be a scary place for people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD.

Treatment and help is available in Boise, Idaho, but so many people do not even realize they have it. Instead of talking with medical professionals about their symptoms, they keep them a secret and just continue to deal with them.

Of course the problem with this approach is that GAD can be extremely debilitating. It tends to have a negative impact in virtually every area of a person’s life. It is so important to understand what causes generalized anxiety disorder, what its symptoms are, and where to find help in Boise, Idaho.

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What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Feeling anxious on occasion is a normal part of life. People worry about all kinds of things, including money, their health or family issues. But for someone with generalized anxiety disorder, worrying becomes a way of life, rather than something they experience once in a while.

The difference is that GAD causes people to feel worried when there is no reason to. These individuals find it very difficult to focus on anything other than their concerns. It is easy for them to get distracted, and this can have a serious impact on their functioning.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that:

  • 3.1% of the adult population in the U.S. struggles with GAD during any given year.
  • 32.3% of these cases are classified as being severe.
  • The average age of onset for this condition is around 31 years of age.
  • Only 43.2% of people with generalized anxiety disorder ever get the treatment they need.
  • Of those who are getting help, 43.7% of them are only receiving minimally adequate care.
  • That works out to just under 19% of those with the condition.

Generalized anxiety disorder is just one of many types of anxiety disorders. They all have similar symptoms, but someone who suffers from GAD is likely to experience:

  • Getting tired easily.
  • Frequently feelings of irritability.
  • Extreme muscle tension and soreness.
  • Sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
  • Feelings of restlessness.
  • Constantly feeling on edge.
  • Problems controlling their worries.
  • Difficulty with concentration.

A person who is diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder has had excessive worry almost every day for the last six months.

Like many mental health issues, generalized anxiety disorder tends to run in families. But that does not mean that it is only genetic. There are also some environmental factors that can play a role in it as well.

People with GAD typically demonstrate an imbalance in the chemicals, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in their brains. When these chemicals are not in balance, this could indicate a likeliness of developing one of many mental health conditions. GAD is often the result.

Generalized anxiety disorder has also been linked to past traumatic events, particularly during childhood. A child who has witnessed a traumatic event or been a victim of physical or sexual abuse are much more likely to develop GAD.

There are a number of factors that could cause someone to be at a higher risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder.

  • Genetics – People are much more likely to have an anxiety disorder if they have a family history of anxiety. But this does not mean that it always happens to everyone.
  • Loss of a parent – People who have had a parent die or who has been absent from their lives as children are much more likely to develop GAD.
  • Family issues – It is possible that family problems like alcoholism, sexual abuse or violence also make it more likely for a person to develop this condition.
  • History of trauma – High stress, traumatic events that are experienced before the age of 21 have been shown to lead to generalized anxiety disorder.
  • History of depression – When a person suffers with depression, they are also much more likely to have some type of anxiety disorder as well. More often than not, it is GAD.
  • History of self-harming behaviors – Cutting and other forms of self-harm are often seen during the teenage years. These behaviors can lead to anxiety well into adulthood.
  • Stress – People who live or work in stressful environments are much more likely than others to develop GAD.
  • Personality factors – There are some personality traits that might make it more likely for someone to develop anxiety. Being overly sensitive and shy are just two examples.
  • History of substance abuse – Many people start using drugs or alcohol as a way to combat symptoms of anxiety. But what they do not realize is that some types of substances can actually contribute to it as well.

Common Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Most doctors and other professionals approach treating generalized anxiety disorder by prescribing medications and therapy.

Antidepressants are medications that act on the neurotransmitters in the brain that impact anxiety and mood. SSRIs help with anxiety, and SNRIs may also be effective. A lot of doctors believe in the importance of both treating for the long-term and for the short-term. For that reason, benzodiazepines such as Ativan or Xanax may also be recommended to help with periodic times of higher anxiety.

Psychotherapy can be extremely beneficial for anyone with generalized anxiety disorder. Most experts agree that cognitive-behavioral therapy is the best approach.

People with GAD tend to incorporate a vague sense of danger into the way they think. Their constant worry only fuels their anxiety, and CBT can help with that. It teaches them how to change their thought patterns into more positive ones. They can also learn the best ways to solve problems, how to set goals and establish priorities in their lives.

Ashwood Recovery’s Promise Program: Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The Promise program at Ashwood Recovery is an outpatient partial hospitalization or day treatment program in Boise, Idaho. The program itself lasts for between 4-5 weeks and it is led by a team of qualified medical and mental health professionals.

Our clients participate in group therapy to help them get the peer support they need. Family sessions are also available if they needed, which can be very helpful for someone struggling with GAD. Clients also meet regularly with a counselor and a psychiatrist.

We provide medication management services as a part of Promise as well. We highly recommend for our clients to be on medications that are non-addictive, and we carefully monitor their progress on those medications.

Promise is a well-rounded program that has worked well for others with anxiety disorders. We view each of our clients as individuals who all have their own needs during treatment and the healing process. That is why we tailor each of our clients’ treatment plans according to what will work best for them.

Our clients regularly participate in:

  • Art and music therapy
  • Yoga and/or Thai chi
  • Activities to help them learn new skills
  • Processing groups
  • Goal building activities
  • Trauma therapy
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Talk With Us About Getting Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Boise, ID

At Ashwood Recovery, we understand that every client we work with is facing different circumstances. That is why we take the time to get to know our clients individually and put together treatment plans that address their unique needs. We know difficult it can be to cope with the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. We are here to provide the necessary support throughout the healing process.

Do you think you might have generalized anxiety disorder? If so, our Promise program may be exactly what you need. Please contact us today to learn more.

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