Fortunately there is effective treatment available if you suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The first step is to visit your doctor. It’s important to be upfront with your doctor about current medical problems and any medications that you may be taking. It’s urgent that you make him aware of any history of alcoholism or drug abuse. Often times people suffering from GAD attempt to self-medicate through the use of alcohol. Alcohol can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety making the condition worse.
Your doctor’s first task will be to ascertain if your anxiety is caused by a physical problem rather than a mental disorder. Again, it’s very important that you’re honest about your medical history. Once a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder has been made, your doctor will prescribe psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. It’s very important that you stick to the prescribed course of treatment. Treating GAD takes both time and effort. Some medications can take weeks to become effective.
Often times antidepressants are prescribed to help deal with anxiety. Antidepressants alter a patient’s brain chemistry and can take as long as four to six weeks to fully take effect. Anti-anxiety medication and beta-blockers may also be prescribed.
Medication itself cannot cure Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Medication allows the patient to experience relief from the symptoms of anxiety, thus enabling them to get to the crux of the mental issues at play. It’s likely that your psychotherapist will use cognitive behavior therapy to help you understand what is triggering your anxiety.
Cognitive behavior therapy is designed to help patients understand which behaviors and beliefs are causing anxiety. People with GAD often harbor unhealthy belief systems, behaviors, and attitudes that need to be adjusted. By learning new, healthy ways of analyzing situations and feelings, patients are able to adjust their thinking, providing relief from the symptoms of anxiety.
Even though the patient will still encounter stressful situations from time to time, cognitive behavior therapy teaches the patient to react to those situations differently. By teaching themselves to react differently and to think in new ways about situations that may trigger anxiety, symptoms can often be greatly relieved. Exposure therapy may also be used to help overcome anxiety related to specific areas.
Treatment will vary greatly for each individual based upon their unique situation. Don’t try to self medicate or treat the problem by yourself. Please seek the attention of a medical professional.