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Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder
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Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder


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  • 1. Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • 2. People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) go through the day filled with exaggerated WORRY and TENSION , even though there is little or nothing to provoke it. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety.
  • 3. They anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at school or work. People with GAD can ’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants.
  • 4. GAD affects 2X as many women as it does men. GAD develops gradually, and can begin at any point in the life cycle. The years of highest risk are between childhood and middle age.
  • 5. So what does GAD look like? When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can often function quite well. However, if their anxiety is severe, they can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities.
    • People with GAD often:
    • Have trouble falling asleep
    • Startle easily
    • Have trouble staying asleep
    • Can ’t relax
    • Have difficulty concentrating
  • 6. What is normal anxiety?
    • Situation or Trigger:
    • First date
    • Preparing for an exam
    • Performing at a concert
    • Giving a speech
    • Moving from home
    • Climbing a tall ladder
    Anxiety: Apprehension Nervousness Tension Edginess Nausea Sweating Trembling Transient Does not significantly interfere with a person’s well-being Does not prevent a person from achieving their goals
  • 7.
    • Situation or Trigger:
    • First date
    • Preparing for an exam
    • Performing at a concert
    • Giving a speech
    • Moving from home
    • Climbing a tall ladder
    Anxiety Symptom Domains: Signaling Cognition Thinking Behaviour Physical Persistent Excessive & Inappropriate Intensity Causes Impairment Leads to dysfunctional coping: - Avoidance - Withdrawal What is abnormal anxiety?
  • 8. GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months and impacts life functioning. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, the first person you should see is your family doctor . They will determine whether the symptoms are due to an anxiety disorder, another medical condition, or both. If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, the next step is usually seeing a mental health professional. GAD: Getting a diagnosis
  • 9.
    • GAD rarely occurs alone , and is often accompanied by:
    • Other anxiety disorders
    • Depression
    • Substance abuse
    These accompanying disorders are often treatable , and should be discussed with a physician.
  • 10. We know that genetics seems to play a role in the development of some anxiety disorders, and there is evidence that genes play a modest role in GAD. However, GAD (like many mental disorders) is probably the result of a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological, and developmental factors. And, several parts of the brain (including the amygdala and hippocampus) are known to be involved in the production of fear and anxiety. By learning more about how the brain creates fear and anxiety, scientists may be able to devise better treatments for anxiety disorders. What Causes GAD?
  • 11.
    • GAD is commonly treated with medication , specific forms of therapy , or both. The chosen treatment will depend on the problem, and on the patient’s preference.
    • The therapies used are: Cognitive and Behavioural
    • The medications used for GAD include:
        • Antidepressants
        • Anti-anxiety drugs
        • Beta-blockers (to control some of the physical symptoms)
    Treatment for GAD
  • 12. Medication will not cure anxiety disorders, but can keep them under control while the patient receives therapy. And, any accompanying disorders also have to be treated using the appropriate therapies. With proper treatment, many people with anxiety disorders can lead normal, fulfilling lives! Treatment for GAD
  • 13. Want to know more about Generalized Anxiety Disorder? The information provided in this presentation is based on information provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information about GAD, visit their website at or talk to your family physician. _______________________________ Image Credits Slide 1: Paulo Correa aka Nookiez - Slide 5: Post Secret –
  • 14. Sun Life Financial Chair In Adolescent Mental Health For more information visit WWW.TEENMENTALHEALTH.ORG BLOG.TEENMENTALHEALTH.ORG