Generalized Anxiety Disorder – GAD


You may have what is called generalized anxiety disorder or GAD if you have so much anxiety and anxiety that it affects your life every day. Then you may need to seek help to feel better.

This article is about generalized anxiety disorder in adults. For the anxiety disorder in children and teenagers, you as a  parent or guardian can read more here.

You are aged 13 to 25 years can read more about anxiety 

What is GAD?

If you feel constant worry and anxiety about many things at the same time for at least six months, you may have what is called generalized anxiety disorder. It is sometimes abbreviated GAD after English generalized anxiety disorder.

You who have GAD feel insecure and have a hard time relaxing and feeling safe. You worry about things and constantly think that a disaster will happen. For example, you or someone close to you should get sick or suffer an accident. You think that what you are worried about will happen for real, and it may feel like nothing can comfort or soothe you.

Occasionally worrying or thinking about what will happen in the future is not the same thing as having GAD. Having GAD affects your entire life.

To feel better, you may need to learn a new way of managing your thoughts and feelings. You may also need treatment.

One anxiety disorder

GAD is a so-called anxiety disorder. Examples of other anxiety disorders are panic syndrome, phobias, and social anxiety disorder.

While many anxiety disorders are about avoiding or managing things or situations that cause anxiety, GAD means that you have constant worry and anxiety no matter what situation or circumstances you are in. Many also feel mentally ill in other ways while having GAD.

You can feel better and there is a psychological treatment that can help. What works for one person may not always work for another. Seek help again if you have not been helped by a certain treatment.

Health anxiety commonly associated with GAD

Often, fear can be about suffering from a serious illness. Then it can be about what is called health anxiety or illness anxiety.

Then the anxiety can cause you to constantly control your body, look for symptoms and ponder over various diseases. Maybe you often seek care often without it proving to be anything wrong. It is common to have health anxiety simultaneously with GAD. Both conditions are treated in the same way.

Symptoms of GAD

You who have GAD have anxiety and can feel restless and worried. You can also be stressed, tense and easy-going. Your thoughts are usually about something terrible to happen, a disaster to happen, or those close to you to disappear or leave.

Pessimistic thoughts and pondering make it difficult for you to concentrate and live in the present. You get tired, at the same time as you have trouble sleeping. Sleep difficulties can make you more sensitive to stress and anxiety.

You may also have any of the following symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder:

  • tense, aching or sore muscles
  • headache
  • pain in the neck and shoulders
  • stomach ache or upset stomach
  • palpitation.

People in your area can say that you need to worry unnecessarily. Some may try to quell your concerns. It can cause you to become annoyed or hurt and therefore avoid telling others how you are feeling. You can often have lived with your symptoms for many years without seeking care.

When should I seek care?

Contact a health care center if one or more of the following applies to you:

  • You have so much anxiety and anxiety that it affects your life every day
  • You relieve your anxiety with alcohol, drugs or by hurting yourself.

When you book a time you can ask to have a slightly longer visit time so that you have time to tell you how you are feeling and how you are feeling. You can also seek care at a psychiatric outpatient clinic.

You who are young

You who are under 25 can contact student health or a  youth reception. The age limit for youth clinics may differ depending on where you live.

If you need to talk to someone

You can contact a guide or phone call. Here is someone who listens and can provide advice and support on how to proceed. You can call or chat anonymously.

Try again if the help didn’t work

If you have previously received help somewhere but do not think it worked, try again somewhere else.

Talking to different people can work well. It is also different from how it feels during different periods. Sometimes it may take time before it feels right to receive help.

If it’s in a hurry

Seek treatment at a psychiatric emergency room if you have thoughts of taking your life, or are feeling so bad that you feel like you can no longer cope.

You who are close relatives should try to help anyone who has thoughts or plans to take their life to contact health care.

Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder can be treated with psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both.

Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder with KBT

A form of psychotherapy called KBT works well for many people with a generalized anxiety disorder. Sometimes there may be the possibility of getting treatment with KBT via the internet.

A variant of KBT that has been shown to help with long-term anxiety and pain disorders is ACT. ACT is an English abbreviation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

It is a therapy that helps you find new ways to relate to your thoughts, feelings and bodily reactions. You will learn to stop avoiding things that are difficult, painful or that worry you. The purpose is to find ways to be able to do what is important to you even if you find it unpleasant.

There are different types of psychotherapeutic treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and it may be different for different people what is best.

In order for the treatment to help, it is important that you get good contact and have confidence in the therapist you are talking to.

Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder with drugs

Sometimes you can get help from antidepressants. It often takes several weeks from your start taking the drugs until you start to feel better. There are also medicines containing hydroxizin that can help with anxiety and anxiety.

What can I do for myself?

There are different ways to deal with your anxiety at the moment. There are also things you can do to feel better in the long run. Read more and get advice on anxiety here.

It is also good if you can talk to someone about how you feel. You can also help write down your thoughts and feelings.

One piece of advice is to develop the disaster idea fully, in a conversation or in writing, to get more perspectives. Avoiding thinking about the worst-case scenario often leads to even more stress and anxiety in the long run. Another piece of advice is to find a way to break the worry by activating yourself with something else. For example, take a walk or make a call.

You can often feel better if you move. Try to rest and get enough sleep. You can take small rest breaks, and for example, work out relaxation or do breathing exercises if you have trouble sleeping.

You can try doing exercises in conscious presence, also called mindfulness. It can help you to be calmer and easier to handle.

Alcohol and drugs aggravate anxiety

Try not to reduce anxiety with alcohol or other drugs. It may feel like it helps for the moment, but it makes the anxiety worse in the long run.

Try quitting or reducing if you smoke, snuff drink a lot of coffee or energy drink. Nicotine and caffeine can increase anxiety and make it harder for you to sleep well.

To help stop the tobacco, you can take any of the medicines available. Here you can read more about quitting smoking and what support there is for those who want to quit nicotine.

Learn more about anxiety and help others

Learning more about anxiety is good and can be good preparation for seeking help.

Read about anxiety or share other people’s experiences,  for example through various associations and organizations.  You can contact the  Ångestförbundet ÅSS  and get support, tips, and advice from people who have their own experience.

You can contact a guide if you want to talk or chat with someone anonymously.

Advice to related parties

It can feel difficult to know what to do to support someone with GAD or other anxiety disorders. Sometimes you may need to be a support by listening. Sometimes you may need to encourage those who are ill to seek professional help.

It can sometimes be good to set a limit to the turmoil, and instead to break and do something completely different. Taking a walk, watching a movie or cooking together are examples of things that can help those who are worried about being more present and distancing themselves to worrying thoughts.

No matter how you try to support the poor person, try to accept that there is a limit to how much you can help someone else. Do not take it personally if your suggestions are not received favorably. Respect if the person says no. The most important thing is that those who feel bad know and feel that you care about them.

How should I help someone who is anxious?

Learn more about anxiety and mental illness. For example, you can read articles or books, watch movies or listen to podcasts.

You can help by reminding yourself that it is not dangerous to have anxiety, even if it feels so. Encourage the person to learn more about what anxiety is and what they can do to feel better.

You who are close to a person with a generalized anxiety disorder may need guidance from the therapist responsible for the treatment. You can also ask for support and advice from others in the same situation, for example in a support organization such as Ångestförbundet ÅSS or Anhöriga’s national association.

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