Archives

Helping Yourself When GAD Strikes

Everyone gets worried every now and again. That’s all part of being human. But when worry and anxiety get out of control, the world gets to be impossible. Any little thing can set you off. Watching television, you see a report about a terrorist bomb and suddenly you’re afraid the terrorists may leave a bomb in the mall the next time you’re shopping. A casual remark at work about the recession immediately turns into fear you’re the next in line for a pink slip. You hear a friend talking about relationship problems and you’re looking anxiously over your shoulder at your partner. When anything can trigger another wave of anxiety, all you want to do is hide yourself away. You know you can’t stop the worry. That means avoiding the world. You stop going out. You won’t answer the phone. Except that just leaves all those thoughts running through your mind, worrying about what people are saying about you now you’re no longer around. Ordinary worry grows into generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) when there’s no real reason for any of your fears. You just can’t stop thinking about all the worst things that could happen to you. This is not to say there won’t be good and bad days. But doctors will diagnose GAD when the bad days seriously outweigh the good over at least three months. There are likely to be a mixture of physical and psychological symptoms from tension in your muscles, insomnia and fatigue, to feeling irritable, finding it impossible to relax, and living with the fear you’re losing control of your life. So what can you do to help yourself feel better? The first step is admitting you have a problem and then confronting your fears. If you can be honest with yourself and see the fears as irrational, you can start to move forward. There’s some uncertainty in everyone’s life. You just have to learn to accept it in yours. Then look at your lifestyle. If you live for the next hit of caffeine, dial it back. Instead, start a gentle exercise program to tire you physically and help you relax. Gather friends and family around you and get their support. If you find these simple steps are not working, go for some counseling. There are some excellent relaxation techniques. Yes, you may be skeptical about meditation and the idea of being able to calm yourself, but many people find they do work. The aim is to switch from a negative to a positive view of the world. Recognize your worst fears are almost never realized. Start to hope for the best instead. Of course, it’s always possible you can’t make self-help work. If that’s the case, a quick course of Xanax may well give you the edge. Sooner or later, you must learn to deal with anxiety head-on. If you fail, GAD can grow into depression or you may find yourself dependent on alcohol or prescription drugs. Xanax can give you a vital breathing space while you get professional help to resolve your problems.

Leave a Reply