Generalised anxiety disorder: when anxiety takes over life

Escrito por: Dr Oscar D’Agnone
Publicado: | Actualizado: 20/09/2023
Editado por: Emma McLeod

Generalised anxiety disorder can last days or months, with symptoms ranging from physical to mental. Learn when anxiety becomes a problem and the solution to getting your life back on track, as explained by one of the most senior and respected psychiatrists in the UK, Dr Oscar D’Agnone.

A woman is lying down on her back with her hands covering her face due to the frustration and anxiety.

Some anxiety is normal

Anxiety is to our mind like pain is to our body: it is a signal, like an alarm, that is triggered by emotional tension or conflict. Much like pain, anxiety is a normal part of life. This is, however, as long as it doesn’t interfere with daily living by causing problems in our personal or social life. We can usually control anxiety and carry on, like when arriving late for an appointment or awaiting test results.

Anxiety that takes over life is a problem

However, when anxiety takes over our lives, then we have a medical problem. This refers to when the anxiety is making changes to our usual life in ways such as avoiding places or circumstances that can create anxiety at work, in the streets or at social events. The result is that you start to withdrawal and spend more time in isolation, usually under a state of apprehension. Persistent anxiety usually results in a lack of self-confidence, which ultimately has a massive impact in everyday life.

The tolerance to anxiety is different for everyone. Some people can tolerate high levels of anxiety or stress that is caused by a difficult situation that they are going through. Nevertheless, they continue with their normal lives once the situation has changed. Others are less tolerant and very soon the anguish; uncertainty; the lack of control over emotions; the sensation that something is wrong but they don’t know what it is (nor they can’t do anything about it); insomnia and tension become overwhelming and unbearable.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Most people feel a mixture or combination of the above-mentioned symptoms, some mental and some physical, and this is what doctors call GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Usually, it lasts for a limited period of time: from days to months.

There are 5 types of anxiety disorders. GAD is one of them and usually the first one to appear. The other four are OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) , panic attacks , PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and social phobia .

Panic attacks

When general anxiety peaks and turns extreme, it turns into panic. When this extreme panic appears all of a sudden, we refer to it as a panic attack. At that point people feel that something very bad and life-threatening is happening to them. They can feel short of breath, like having a weight in their chest, some think they are having a cardiac emergency and they are about to die.

Intense anxiety is frequently accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, palpitations , restlessness, agitation, dizziness, irrational fear, even when there is no known threat.

The solution

The good news is that today we can offer medical and psychological solutions for all these problems. There are several medications that are very effective in controlling anxiety , including generalised anxiety disorder, and to stop it in its tracks straight away.

Taking medication for anxiety is a very important first step when beginning to gain more control over the symptoms during cognitive and behavioural interventions. It’s also an important first step when learning to understanding the personal and social factors that trigger the anxiety via psychotherapeutic interventions.

A combination of medical and psychological interventions for a limited period of time usually resolves GAD, allowing people to continue enjoying their personal and social lives once more.

Learn how Dr Oscar D’Agnone can help you overcome mental health conditions such as anxiety, addiction, depression and get in touch by visiting his profile .

Por Dr Oscar D’Agnone

El Dr. Oscar D'Agnone MD MRCPsych es uno de los psiquiatras y especialistas en adicciones médicas más veteranos y respetados del Reino Unido, y se especializa en trastornos de ansiedad , adicciones , problemas relacionados con el alcohol , traumatismos (TEPT), depresión y TDAH . Actualmente es CEO y Director Médico de Seagrave Healthcare / The OAD Clinic, una institución privada líder que brinda tratamiento de salud mental y adicciones en el centro de Londres por más de 15 años.

Hasta noviembre de 2018, el Dr. D'Agnone fue profesor honorario de la Facultad de Ciencias Médicas y Humanas de la Universidad de Manchester, miembro del Royal College of Psychiatrists y de la Sociedad Internacional de Medicina de Adicciones.

Con más de 35 años de experiencia como psiquiatra consultor en el tratamiento de pacientes con problemas de salud mental y adicciones, el Dr. D'Agnone ofrece intervenciones psiconeurofarmacológicas complejas para manejar o resolver situaciones difíciles para sus pacientes y sus familias que sufren las consecuencias de problemas de salud mental. A lo largo de su carrera, ha ocupado muchos puestos directivos, liderando grandes equipos de médicos, enfermeras y psicólogos a través de diversos entornos de tratamiento en Europa y América. Como resultado, ha obtenido una rica experiencia clínica que le ha permitido desarrollar y ofrecer un enfoque pragmático centrado en el problema de la variedad de intervenciones farmacológicas y psicosociales para sus pacientes.

El Dr. D'Agnone ha enseñado en muchas universidades e instituciones europeas y americanas y ha publicado numerosos artículos médicos y libros sobre adicciones y ha publicado ampliamente en la prensa médica profesional. Además, a menudo se presenta en conferencias científicas nacionales e internacionales notables y es el asesor principal de varios gobiernos y productos farmacéuticos sobre la estrategia política y la investigación y desarrollo de nuevos medicamentos.

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