When Worry Takes Control: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Better Living
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Local resident Michael Schaaf knew something was wrong when his day-to-day worries began to interfere with his life. After consulting with a doctor, he decided to seek help for his generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at Loyola University Medical Center.

Schaaf’s doctor, Aparna Sharma, says it’s important to remember that anxiety is a normal human emotion that aids in survival. However, when it becomes excessive and interferes with everyday life, people need to seek professional help.

Often, individuals with generalized anxiety experienced something traumatic as a child. Sharma says a coping mechanism, is to worry about trivial, day-to-day matters because these serve as a distraction from the real emotions at play. Memories may be traumatic and are often difficult to deal with.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are two main kinds of treatment for GAD. Cognitive behavior therapy can be used to change how the patient thinks, behaves, and reacts to certain situations. Medication is another alternative and typically patients are prescribed either anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications. As always, it’s important to talk with a doctor before obtaining any medication.

Sharma says that other solutions can as simple as doing enjoyable, relaxing activities such as reading, journaling, or exercising. If you or someone you know may have GAD, it’s important to seek professional help and know that anxiety is curable.



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