Are you constantly anxious about many dreadful things you imagine happening? Do you still worry so much even though you know that there’s little to no chance of these dreadful things actually happening to you or your loved ones? Does your anxiousness affect you so much it disrupts your everyday life?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you might be suffering from General Anxiety Disorder or GAD. According to Mental Health America, GAD involves persistent, excessive worry and tension that can last for six months or more. Most of the time, this worry is unfounded or much more extreme than the ordinary anxiety most people feel.
Unfortunately, not all people with GAD seek professional help. In fact, there are even people who didn’t know they are actually suffering from a possible mental illness. If you suspect you might be suffering from GAD, don’t worry because you are not alone, and there are professionals who will be able to help you. These are some of the warning signs that you might be suffering from General Anxiety Disorder:
1. Constantly worrying — It is normal for us to be a little worried sometimes, like for an instance, when a family member is sick. For a case like this, worrying is understandable. However, if you worry all the time that your family member might fall sick — that you can’t drive the thoughts out of your mind — even though you know full well that they are in good health, it might be a symptom of GAD.
2. Finding it hard to focus — GAD is characterized by the persistent worrying thoughts entering your mind even you are currently engaged in an activity. Sometimes, many different worries enter your mind simultaneously that you experience something that is referred to as ‘racing thoughts’.
As per Psychology Today, racing thoughts is one of the components of anxiety. It is when you are having fast, repeated thoughts about a particular topic. When you experience racing thoughts, you will find it hard to focus on actually accomplishing something, being so occupied by so many worries.
3. Getting easily irritated — According to the Calm Clinic, people with GAD have the tendency to easily get irritated or lash out on people close to them because of the stress and difficulty of managing the anxiety they are experiencing.
4. Having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep — The thing is, GAD makes it hard for some people to sleep, and being deprived of satisfying sleep can result in more anxiety. Insomnia is a sleep disorder which involves difficulty sleeping and staying asleep and Anxiety and Depression Association of America said that, “Studies also show that people with chronic insomnia are at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder.”
So, if worrying thoughts always keep you up all night, you might want to talk to a professional before it becomes a cycle.
5. Getting easily tired — Anxiety can leave anyone feel drained. Not only you have sleepless nights that would naturally make you feel exhausted — but your mind’s running playing dreadful things, too, when you have GAD — making you mentally exhausted as well.
6. Having feelings of edginess — Often feeling keyed up or tense is another common sign of GAD. If you are unable to remain calm, unable to sit still, and in constant feeling that something untoward would happen anytime soon, it might be a sign of anxiety.
7. Experiencing muscle tension or tightness — Since GAD makes you tense most of the time, it makes your muscles tense and, as a consequence, ache. According to Anxiety Centre, when a person is stressed and/or anxious it leads to the body producing something called the ‘stress response’.
And if stress responses happen too frequently, it can lead to the body being stress-response hyper-stimulated. Hyper-stimulation can result in muscles being tensed and tight. Because one feature of GAD is being stressed or anxious constantly, muscle tension happens.
8. Experiencing body tremors — When you are suffering from anxiety, your body has a lot of adrenaline, which causes it to shake involuntarily, according to the Calm Clinic.
9. Having stomach distress — According to Harvard Health Publishing, “The brain has a direct effect on the stomach.” and “A person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.”
Therefore, if you often feel nauseous or if you often experience indigestion or Irritable Bowel Syndrome when you’re under a lot of stress, it could be a warning sign of GAD.
10. Experiencing excessive sweating — Just like muscle tension, excessive sweating can be a result of stress-response hyperstimulation. When you are overly-stressed or overly anxious, your body will have involuntary reactions, according to Anxiety Centre.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests for an adult to see a professional right away if at least three of these symptoms were experienced. Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you fear you have GAD. Keep in mind that you are not alone in your situation.
(Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not to be treated as an expert opinion. If you’re persistently dealing with any of the signs mentioned in the article please always consult with your doctor or a specialist.)