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The Differences Between Normal Worry & General Anxiety Disorder

Worrying is one of the things that separate us from other animals. Depending on what the situation is, we can worry about something for hours on end, oftentimes, losing sleep until whatever it is that we are stressing over gets resolves. There are, however, some people who take worrying to the next level and actually have their worries affect their day-to-day activities. Such kind of condition is what is known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. But what exactly separates a normal worry from that of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

A Generalized Anxiety Disorders is basically defined as worrying that already interferes with one’s daily activities. What makes the “worrying” part all the more disconcerting is the fact that it is diffused and is not focused at a particular cause. As the name implies, it is just a general feeling of dread over something that cannot be defined. Although it is not as grave as a panic attack, it can still last longer and still interferes with one’s daily activities.

As opposed to normal worry, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is often described as excessive, intrusive, debilitating, and persistent. A person with GAD typically has no control over his or her worrying so much so that it consumes the person all throughout the day. In contrast to a normal worry, a person with GAD would show signs of consistent worrying for at least six months.

While normal worrying is a result of certain situations, the predisposition for Generalized Anxiety Disorder is generally something that is hereditary. Coupled with major stressful situations, a person with GAD would have an inability to relax as well as enjoy life events. In most cases, he or she would have difficulty concentrating and would most likely avoid certain situations that triggers his or her anxiety. Muscle tension as well as sleep disturbance are some of the other physical symptoms that a person suffering from GAD would exhibit, something that you do not normally see with someone who is undergoing a normal worry. There are also causes when GAD comes as a result of substance abuse.

Since a normal worry would typically pass in a matter of hours or days, there is generally no need for that person to undergo treatment. However, a person suffering from GAD would have to undergo certain therapies in order to better deal with his or her situation. Some of the most common therapies being used in dealing with GAD include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, where the person is made to understand the different emotions and factors that play a role in his or her behavior; and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, to name a few. In some cases, people suffering from GAD might also undergo medical treatment such as the intake of Benzodiazepines, certain MAO inhibitors, and Pregabalin. However, therapies are typically the first step before a patient would be made to undergo any pharmaceutical treatment.

Lastly, while normal worrying is something that could stand on its own, GAD is a condition that generally comes with another medical condition. Some of these conditions include depression, substance abuse, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome.