Definition: Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
As GAD is indicated as a disorder Oscar Pistorius allegedly has, let us research the condition. Most of us feel anxious from time to time, especially during stressful events. Ongoing and severe anxiety may be a sign of Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
GAD can be developed as a child or as an adult. The symptoms are similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety, but the conditions are all different.
Living with GAD, can be a long-term challenge. It may occur along with other anxiety or mood disorders. Generalised Anxiety disorder improves with medication or psychological counseling (psychotherapy).
Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder
It can vary but include:
- Constant worrying or obsession about small and large concerns alike
- Restlessness and feeling trapped or on edge
- Lack of concentration or a blank mind
- Bad temper
- Tense and aching muscles
- Trembling, feeling nervous or being easily startled
- Sweating, nausea or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath or rapid heartbeat
There may be times when worries aren’t all consuming, but you feel anxious with no apparent reason. For example, you may feel intense worry about your safety or have a feeling that something bad is going to happen.
Some anxiety is normal, but a doctor should be consulted if:
- You’re worrying too much, and it’s interfering with your life
- You feel depressed, have trouble with drinking or drugs, or health concerns along with anxiety
- You have suicidal thoughts
Worries are unlikely to simply go away on their own, and may even get worse over time. Professional help should be requested before anxiety becomes severe with stark consequences.
Causes of Generalised Anxiety Disorder
With many mental health conditions including generalised anxiety disorder, the causes isn’t fully understood. It may involve natural brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Several causes are likely and may include genetics, life events and stress.
Some physical health conditions are associated with anxiety:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Heart disease
- Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
Generalised Anxiety Disorder Risk factors
Things that may increase the risk of developing GAD:
- Being female. Twice as many women as men are diagnosed.
- Childhood trauma.
- Illness. A chronic health condition or serious illness, such as cancer, can lead to constant worry about the future, treatment and finances.
- Substance abuse. Drug or alcohol abuse. Caffeine and nicotine may increase anxiety.
Complications: Generalised Anxiety Disorder
GAD does more than just make you worry. It can lead to, or aggravate:
- Substance abuse
- Digestive or bowel problems
- Teeth grinding
Perhaps some good will come from the tragedy when Oscar shot and killed Reeva, if the trial alerts someone to seek professional advice for a similar condition and avoid similar consequences!