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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Everyone feels anxious or uneasy from time to time. Your first day on a new job, planning for a long trip, going to the dentist....your palms sweat, you feel shaky, your heart pounds. Some anxiety helps to keep you focused on the job at hand. However, when your anxiety is so serious that it interferes with your work, leads you to avoid certain situations or keeps you from enjoying life, you may be suffering from a form of the most common type of mental disorder, an anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Anxiety disorders are not just a case of "nerves." You can't overcome an anxiety disorder just through willpower, nor can the symptoms be ignored or wished away. These disorders cause you to feel anxious most of the time, making some everyday situations so uncomfortable that you may avoid them entirely. Or, you may experience occasional instances of anxiety that are so terrifying and intense that you may be immobilized with fear. Although these conditions can be very frightening and disabling, they are also very treatable. It is important to recognize the symptoms and seek help.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is constant, exaggerated worry and tension without any apparent reason. This may cause a person to always anticipate a disaster or worry excessively about health, money, work, or family problems. Often, however, the source of the worry and tension is not specific, and simply inhibits a person's ability to get through the day. People suffering from GAD may experience:

  • Inability to relax
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Trembling or irritability
  • Twitching or muscle
  • Tension headaches
  • Sweating or hot flashes
  • Feeling lightheaded or out of breath
  • Feeling nauseated
  • Going to the bathroom frequently
  • Feeling tired or unable to concentrate


Treatment for anxiety disorders usually involves both medication and psychotherapy. Studies have shown with proper treatment, 70-80 percent of people with panic disorders significantly improve and often within 6-8 weeks.

There are many different drugs used to treat anxiety symptoms; therefore, it is possible that if one type is not effective, another may be. Many of these medications have side effects, so the patient should be monitored and observed closely.

Behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are also very effective in treating these disorders. Behavioral therapy focuses on changing specific actions and uses different techniques to stop this behavior. One technique involves diaphragmatic breathing which is a form of deep-breathing. Another technique called exposure therapy gradually exposes the patient to the object or situation which frightens him/her and helps the patient to develop coping skills.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches the persons new skills in order to react differently to the situations which trigger the anxiety or panic attacks. Patients also learn to understand how their thinking patterns contribute to the symptoms and how to change their thinking to reduce or stop these symptoms.

Help is Just a Phone Call Away

We cannot offer diagnosis, counseling or recommendations online, but an Assessment and Referral specialist is available 24 hours/7 days a week at 502.426.6380. If you are currently experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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The Brook Hospitals | Louisville, KY | Phone: 502-426-6380 or 502-896-0495
Physicians are on the medical staff of The Brook Hospitals, but, with limited exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of The Brook Hospitals. The facility shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.
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