Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety at one point or another, whether it’s before a job interview, an important presentation, or a big exam. However, not everyone has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6.8 million adults in the United States suffer from GAD. GAD is often the result of a number of factors, including genetics, life events, and brain chemistry. It’s important to differ between feelings of anxiety and GAD, because a GAD diagnosis can help an individual receive the relief, care, and accommodations they need to increase their quality of living.
But how do you know if you’re simply experiencing feelings of anxiety, or struggling with GAD? The only way to receive a medical diagnosis for GAD is to visit and discuss your symptoms with a doctor or other mental health professional.
How Do You Know if You Have GAD?
In the meantime, there are common symptoms associated with GAD that can help you determine whether or not you should take the next step and pursue a diagnosis and treatment. (Keep in mind that even if you don’t think you have GAD, but find yourself occasionally struggling with anxiety, you can still benefit from therapy.)
Excessive worry is a hallmark sign of generalized anxiety disorder. When does worry become excessive? A good benchmark is to consider whether you’ve experienced persistent worry or stress for four or more days a week for the past six months. Additionally, is it affecting your ability to live your life and perform daily functions? Your worry may not just be excessive, but it can also be disruptive.
Half of people with GAD experiencing trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Oftentimes If you find yourself lying awake at night due to racing thoughts, worry, and agitation, you may have GAD. Additionally, your worry may not be associated with anything specific. You may just feel a sense of uncertainty that inhibits your ability to sleep.
Muscle Tension or Pain
Depending on how long you’ve been dealing with anxiety, you may not even notice your muscle tension or pain anymore – it’s just become a part of your life. People with GAD may experience increased levels of muscle tension due to stress, particularly in the back.
If you find yourself feeling aches without an explainable cause, this could be associated with anxiety.
Nausea or Indigestion
Stress and anxiety can cause nausea or indigestion, and both conditions are made worse by stress. These issues can unfortunately reinforce each other, especially when left untreated.
Intolerance for Uncertainty
Do you find it difficult to handle uncertainty? It’s common if you have GAD to spend excessive amounts of time struggling with self-doubt when it comes to decision-making. You may also repeatedly go over the same thoughts.
If you experience one or more of these signs, it may be a good time to reach out to a medical professional like those at Pyramid Healthcare to discuss your anxiety. Learn more about our mental health services for adults and teens struggling with anxiety and other disorders.