“Motherhood definitely contributed to heightened anxiety in the twenties and thirties. And with each addition to the family, the anxiety grew as well.”
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of American, more than 6.8 million people are affected by general anxiety disorder (GAD). Individuals affected by this condition experience excessive anxiety and worry, often expecting the worst when there is no reason for concern. The age group most affected are between 19 and 60 years old. Common issues of concern include, but are not limited to, money, health, family and work.
An individual is diagnosed with GAD when they experience at least three of the symptoms below on most days of the week for at least six months.
- Restlestness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle Tension
- Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
The great news is that this a treatable condition. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment for individuals with GAD. This type of therapy help individuals identity and modify faulty perceptions and thought processes and behavior patterns. Ultimately, they become better at controlling their worry. Other effective strategies include meditation, yoga, exercise and other alternative treatments. Medication is another option for easing anxiety symptoms.
I have been and still am affected by GAD, however, I have learned to take more control of excessive worry as I have gotten older. Since I was a young girl I have been terrified of thunderstorms. My heart would beat out of my chest at the sight of storm clouds. Although I was not scared of flying as a child, I developed a fear of flying as an adult. My biggest fear was dying the leaving my children without a mother. Motherhood definitely contributed to heightened anxiety in the twenties and thirties. And with each addition to the family, the anxiety grew as well. My family members were always getting on me about me twirling the hair at the nape of my neck. Many times I was unaware of the behavior as I would be in a state of worry or anxiety during that time.
Over the years, in an effort to take control of my life and become more health conscious, I started to realize the issue of constant worry was definitely having an impact on my life. It was impacting my relationships and creating undue stress to my body. What has helped me the most are strategies used in cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive restructuring is a very beneficial strategy. I learned to pay attention to my thoughts more and make a shift in the thought pattern if anxiety starts to heighten. Yoga and meditation practice helped me become more in tune with my mind-body connection. Staying active was a huge benefit as well.
If you are think that you may have GAD, talk to a health professional about some effective strategies that you can begin to implement into your life to reduce the anxiety and live a life free of worry. Namasté
Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). General Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad