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What is General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

Heather Flint, CSW

Heather Flint, CSW

Heather's treatment philosophy and ultimate joy in life is advocating for and empowering individuals to harness their inner strength and ultimate capacity, so they can be successful, contributing members of our community.  Heather received her Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, and her Masters degree from Boston University. She has worked with individuals and/or  groups in the following settings: long term care, elderly, hospice, grief/loss, caregiver burnout, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, birth mothers, adoption, and sex/pornography addiction.

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Anxiety
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry about everyday life events. People can begin to experience panic attacks because they tend to always expect the worst concerning:

  • Health
  • Money
  • Family
  • Work
  • School

In people with anxiety disorder, the worry, fear and dread are often unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Eventually, anxiety disorders so dominates the person’s thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school and relationships.


What are the symptoms of GAD?

Anxiety disorders change the way you think and lead to physical symptoms, including the following signs of an anxiety attack:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Unrealistic view of problems
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Frequent urination
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Trembling
  • Easily startled

In addition, people with GAD often have other anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and phobias. It can lead them to suffer from depression or abuse drugs and alcohol. It is necessary to get anxiety disorder symptoms under control in order to live your life to the fullest.

Causes, Prevalence and Diagnosis

The exact cause of the anxiety disorder, GAD, is not fully known, but a number of factors including genetics, brain chemistry and environmental stresses appear to contribute to its development and severity. About 4 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorder during the course of a year, commonly affecting more women than men. Panic attacks most often begin in childhood or adolescence but can start in adulthood too. The good news is that there are qualified anxiety therapists providing anxiety treatment in Salt Lake City. Our anxiety therapists can achieve effective anxiety attack treatment through medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. They will evaluate your medical history, duration and intensity of symptoms, like panic attacks, within the last six months.

How is GAD Treated?

Anxiety attack treatments most often includes a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Prescription drugs, like Benzodiazepines, are available to treat anxiety disorders and may be especially helpful for people whose symptoms interfere with daily activities. They alleviate panic attacks by decreasing physical symptoms such as muscle tension and restlessness. These antidepressants may take a few weeks to start working but they’re appropriate for long-term treatment. In conjunction with cognitive therapy, people suffering from anxiety disorders can learn to recognize and change thought patterns that lead to anxious feelings. This type of therapy helps limit distorted thinking and is an important component for anxiety treatment.

What is the Outlook for People with GAD?

Although many people with anxiety disorder cannot be cured and symptoms can return from time to time, most people gain substantial relief from their symptoms with proper anxiety attack treatment. Anxiety disorder cannot be prevented but you can receive treatment from professional anxiety therapists at Family Counseling Center. The following may help you control or lessen your anxiety symptoms:

  • Stop or reduce your consumption of products that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and soda.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies.
  • Exercise daily and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Seek counseling and support after a traumatic or disturbing experience.
  • Practice stress management techniques such as yoga or meditation.


If you or someone you know is struggling with panic attacks, contact our professional Salt Lake City anxiety therapists for help by calling (801) 261-3500.


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