Anxiety is a stress response when the brain cannot resolve conflicts. It results in thoughts that seem to move in a circular motion, making the person worry about it over and over again. Everyone feels anxious and worried every now and then. When we watch the dying minutes of a soccer or basketball game, we feel worried about our favorite team. When we wait for the exam results to be posted in five minutes, we feel anxious. When it’s been five minutes and our date is still not showing up, we are a little bothered.
Yes, being anxious is normal. The problem is, this makes anxiety disorders difficult to be diagnosed. How do you know that you are already worrying too much and that you have already developed general anxiety disorder (GAD)?
To find out if you actually suffer from GAD, mental health providers conduct a thorough psychological evaluation. These involve asking a number of questions about your fears, worries and your general emotional well-being. You may also have to give information about any obsessions you have had. This is important to make sure that what you have is not OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Aside from that, you may also need to accomplish several forms and answer psychological questionnaires. A physical examination may also be performed to check for any physical health problems that may be the cause of anxiety.
To be diagnosed with GAD, you need to meet the criteria that the Mental Disorders Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has spelled out. Published by the American Psychiatric Association, this manual is used by mental health professionals in diagnosing mental conditions. For GAD, here are the criteria that need to be met.
excessive worry and anxiety every day for six months or longer
difficulty controlling and managing anxiety
anxiety associated with several symptoms like difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, muscle tension and feeling keyed up
anxiety causing significant impairment or distress in your everyday life
anxiety that is not related to another condition like substance abuse
Once the results turn out to be positive for GAD, you will need to undergo relief methods and treatments such as psychotherapy and medications.
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