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Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in Adults: Symptoms, Causes, and Help.

You don't have to live with GAD, while it is a common and potentially debilitating condition, there are many effective treatments available that can help people with this condition manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. What are the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental disorder characterized by excessive and persistent worry and anxiety about a variety of events or activities. Some common symptoms of GAD include feeling restless or on edge, having difficulty concentrating, feeling easily fatigued, having difficulty controlling feelings of worry, experiencing irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. These symptoms can be disruptive and interfere with daily functioning. If you think you may have GAD, it is important to talk to a mental health professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. (More on this below)

How common is generalized anxiety disorder?

General anxiety disorder is a common type of anxiety disorder. It is estimated that around 3-4% of the general population has general anxiety disorder, but the exact prevalence can vary depending on the specific population being studied. Some studies have found that the prevalence of general anxiety disorder is higher in women than in men, and that it becomes more common with age. It is also more common in people who have a family history of anxiety disorders.

What could happen if I don't deal with generalized anxiety disorder?

If you don't deal with generalized anxiety disorder, it can have a negative impact on your overall well-being. Without treatment, symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can continue and even worsen over time. This can lead to difficulties with daily functioning and a decreased quality of life. It can also lead to other mental health conditions, such as depression. It's important to seek treatment for generalized anxiety disorder so that you can manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

More about the symptoms of GAD.

Feeling anxious

Anxiety is a normal response to stress or a dangerous situation, and it can be helpful in providing the motivation and focus needed to deal with a difficult situation. However, when anxiety becomes excessive and chronic, it can interfere with daily functioning and quality of life.

Difficulty relaxing.

If you are having difficulty relaxing, there are some techniques you can try that may help. Deep breathing is one technique that can help to calm the mind and the body. To do this, sit or lie in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to imagine the breath moving down into your belly and then back up again. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body one at a time. This can help to release tension and promote relaxation. Other techniques that may help you relax include meditation, self-hypnosis, mindfulness, or listening to soothing music. It is also important to identify and address any underlying causes of your difficulty relaxing, such as stress or other mental health conditions.

Inability to concentrate.

If you are having trouble concentrating, there are a few things you can try. First, make sure that you are in a comfortable, quiet environment where you will not be distracted. Next, try to eliminate any sources of stress or anxiety that might be contributing to your difficulty concentrating. For example, you might want to take a break from work or other tasks and do some relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or meditation.


Indecisiveness is the state of being unable to make a decision or having difficulty making decisions. It is a common problem that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Indecisiveness can be frustrating and can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.

There are several reasons why someone might be indecisive, including fear of making the wrong decision, lack of information or knowledge, and difficulty prioritizing different options. In order to overcome indecisiveness, it is important to identify the underlying cause and take steps to address it.

For example, if fear of making the wrong decision is causing indecisiveness, it may be helpful to remind oneself that it is impossible to make the perfect decision and that making any decision is better than making no decision at all. If a lack of information or knowledge is causing indecisiveness, it may be helpful to gather more information or seek advice from others. And if difficulty prioritizing different options is causing indecisiveness, it may be helpful to use decision-making strategies, such as weighing the pros and cons of each option or using a decision-making matrix.


Sleep disorders are a common symptom of GAD, as chronic worrying can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. People with Insomnia may also experience symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, exhaustion difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.

Can I get help for General Anxiety Disorder on the NHS?

Yes, you can get help for generalized anxiety disorder on the NHS. Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a common condition that can be treated by healthcare professionals on the NHS. Treatment for GAD typically includes a combination of medication and therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of GAD, it's important to try and speak to your GP, who can assess your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate treatment for you. Unfortunately since the Covid 19 pandemic, there is a huge demand for NHS GP appointments and waiting times for referrals to Mental Health professionals can be lengthy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for GAD

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that is designed to help people change their negative thinking patterns and behaviours. It is based on the idea that our thoughts and beliefs can affect our feelings and actions, and that by changing our thoughts and beliefs, we can change our behaviour and improve our emotional well-being.

CBT typically involves working with a therapist to identify negative thoughts and beliefs, and then learning techniques to challenge and change these thoughts and beliefs. This can include setting goals and practicing new behaviours in session, as well as doing homework and practicing these new behaviours in daily life. The goal of CBT is to help people develop more positive and realistic ways of thinking and behaving, which can lead to improved mental health and well-being. It is a highly effective treatment for a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.

Do I need to see a therapist to get CBT?

While it is not entirely necessary to see a therapist in order to get CBT, it is generally recommended to seek the help of a trained therapist for, as they can provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Can I get CBT online?

Yes, it is possible to receive CBT online. Many therapists now offer CBT sessions over the internet using video conferencing or other forms of teletherapy. This can be a convenient and effective way to receive CBT, especially if you have a busy schedule or live in a remote area. However, it is important to choose a therapist who is trained in CBT and has experience providing online therapy. This will ensure that you receive high-quality care and get the most out of your CBT sessions. Can I learn CBT from a book?

While it is possible to learn about CBT from a book, it is generally not recommended to try to learn and practice CBT on your own without the guidance of a trained therapist. CBT is a complex form of therapy that requires a certain level of training and expertise to be performed effectively. A book can provide some general information about CBT and its principles, but it cannot provide the personalized guidance and support that a therapist can offer. Additionally, learning CBT from a book may not be as effective as actually participating in CBT sessions with a therapist. It is generally best to seek the help of a trained therapist if you are interested in trying CBT.

Psychodynamic and Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic Therapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy are both forms of talk therapy. Psychodynamic therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on helping people understand their unconscious thoughts and feelings and how they may be influencing their behaviour. This type of therapy is based on the idea that our unconscious mind plays a significant role in our behaviour and that by gaining insight into these unconscious thoughts and feelings, we can better understand and change our behaviour.

Interpersonal psychotherapy, on the other hand, focuses on helping people improve their relationships with others. This type of therapy is based on the idea that our relationships with others play a significant role in our mental health and that by improving these relationships, we can improve our overall well-being. Both psychodynamic therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy can be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including GAD and Depression.

Can I use Self-Hypnosis for Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Self-Hypnosis is a highly effective Self-Help treatment for GAD and you do not need to see a therapist to learn it. While a therapist may be able to help you to learn Self-Hypnosis and guide you in using it to manage your anxiety, there are also many self-hypnosis techniques and scripts that you can use on your own.

You can find a wide range of information about Self-Hypnosis online, including instructions for how to perform Self-Hypnosis scripts that you can use during your sessions, and suggestions for how to incorporate Self-Hypnosis into your daily routine. Additionally, there are many audio recordings available that can guide you through the process of Self-Hypnosis. So, while seeing a therapist may be helpful, it is not necessary in order to learn and practice self-hypnosis.

You will find a Self-Hypnosis session for Generalized Anxiety disorder on our website written and recorded by Sharon Shinwell. Sharon is a UK qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist who has been helping people with Anxiety issues for over 20 years. You will find this session HERE

"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."

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