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What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

A man suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder sitting on his bed.
Learn what Generalized Anxiety Disorder is and its link to addiction today.

Think back to a time where you got in trouble as a kid. Whether it was at school or at a friend’s house, you found yourself waiting anxiously for your parents to get home to talk to you about it. Your heart was pounding, your stomach was upset and you couldn’t stop thinking about what they were going to say to you. Each scenario that ran through your mind was worse than the previous one, increasing your anxiety even more.

This is what it feels like to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Except with GAD, you go through this mindset countless times a day. In this post, we’re going to take a deep dive into Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder

At its core, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is about excessive worry. This worry, and the stress caused by it can be about almost anything. Some of the most common things that people with GAD worry about include money, work and family. But people with GAD have a very hard time controlling their worry. Even if there is a situation where worrying is natural, it often gets out of control.

You might be surprised at how common GAD is. According to Anxiety and Depression of America, 3.1 percent of the U.S. population has GAD. And women are almost twice as likely to suffer from it.

Signs and Symptoms of GAD

One of the most commons signs of GAD is how you respond to worry. If you have a difficult time stopping yourself from worrying and find that you blow minor situations, like losing your keys or accidentally breaking a plate, out of proportion, you could have GAD.

The stress, worry and anxiety caused by GAD can also lead to a variety of physical symptoms, such as:

  • Feeling on “edge” or restless
  • Having a hard time focusing
  • Having trouble falling and staying asleep
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability

The Connection Between Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Addiction

Many people who suffer from GAD unfortunately develop a substance abuse disorder. When you have GAD, even normal situations can cause intense anxiety. Some addictions start as a way for people to self-medicate, since they’re looking for relief from their symptoms. The problem is, substance abuse can actually make anxiety symptoms worse. This creates a vicious cycle of abuse where someone uses more drugs or alcohol for their GAD symptoms.

But that’s not the only link between GAD and addiction. According to recent research, addiction is more common for those suffering from GAD than other anxiety disorders. The anxiety experienced from GAD puts your body in panic mode, and to cope with the avalanche of negative thoughts, worry and anxiety with daily life, substance abuse offers an escape.

Unfortunately, the reverse can also occur. If you’re struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, that substance abuse can trigger and worsen GAD.

If you’re suffering from GAD and substance abuse, dual diagnosis treatment is one of the best ways to find lasting recovery. Addiction treatment centers like The Raleigh House specialize in treating both conditions at the same time. That way, you can learn how to cope with your anxiety in a healthy way during your addiction recovery.

Find Recovery from Addiction and GAD from The Raleigh House

When you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder and an addiction, it can feel like your life is falling down around you. It’s almost as if you’re adrift at sea with no clear idea of which way to go. But the good news is you don’t have to go through this alone.

As a trusted leader in behavioral health and dual diagnosis disorders, we are dedicated to helping you reach lasting recovery. From our inpatient rehab program at The Ranch to a strong alumni network, we have a full continuum of care ready to support you. You have the potential to take back everything that anxiety and addiction have stolen from you. Take the first step towards a brighter future by contacting us today.

Call Now: 720-891-4657

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