Generalized anxiety disorder is a serious psychological condition that causes constant worrying and nervousness in millions of people every day

Generalized anxiety disorder is a serious psychological condition that causes constant worrying and nervousness in millions of people every day. “Excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that are difficult to control and interfere with day-to-day activities may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder” (Lock et al., par.1). I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) when I was fifteen and it has negatively impacted my life in almost every way. For a while, it made holding down a job or going to school almost impossible. Just doing daily activities like driving or going out to eat was too much for me. It’s negatively impacted my relationships because I often feel too nervous or too tired to do anything. Some of the minor causes of this disorder are lack of sleep, stress, and social situations. Some of the minor effects are nervousness, mood problems, and trouble focusing. Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition that can be caused by personality, biology, or environment which can result in difficulty interacting with others, relationship problems, and inability to handle everyday responsibilities. It’s important for people to be able to recognize signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder because it can be debilitating if left untreated.
One of the causes of generalized anxiety disorder is personality. Some people, due to their inherent personality traits, are more prone to develop anxiety. In the Mayo Clinic article, “Generalized Anxiety Disorder-Symptoms and Causes,” the author states, “A person whose temperament is timid or negative or who avoids anything dangerous may be more prone to generalized anxiety disorder than others are” (sect. Risk Factors). People who are shy or pessimistic may have a higher risk of developing anxiety. “But some people, no matter how robust their stock portfolios or how healthy their children, are always mentally preparing for doom” (Henig, par.8). Worrying is just a part of some people’s personalities and they continuously worry even if they currently don’t have anything to worry about. I often worry even when I don’t have much going on and there isn’t anything to worry about. I am a shy person with pessimistic tendencies. As a result, I feel like my personality causes me to worry more about things and feel like things are doomed from the start. These different types of personalities can increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
Although your personality type can cause you to develop an anxiety disorder, biology is another cause. In the NPR article, “What is it like to suffer from an anxiety disorder,” Barbara J. King states, “Anxiety runs through my family too: My mother (who died in 2015) suffered from it, as does my daughter, age 23, who also has been diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder” (par.9). Anxiety disorders can be hereditary. My mom and sister both have anxiety disorders, so I believe my genetics may have played a role in my own anxiety. Differences in brain structure may also lead to this disorder. “In the brain, these thoughts can often be traced to over reactivity in the amygdala, a small site in the middle of the brain that, among its many other functions, responds to novelty and threat” (Henig, par.15). Increased activity in the amygdala may increase a person’s anxiety. A person may also have differences in their brain chemistry that leads to this disorder. Whether it’s your genetics or differences in brain structure, these biological traits can increase your chances of developing this disorder.
Even though biology plays an important role, environmental factors are thought to have the biggest impact on developing generalized anxiety disorder. “People with generalized anxiety disorder may have a history of significant life changes, traumatic or negative experiences during childhood, or a recent traumatic or negative event” (“Generalized Anxiety Disorder-Symptoms and Causes,” sect. Risk Factors). Some people may develop an anxiety disorder if they are exposed to others who have anxious behaviors. Parents may have anxious tendencies that children may learn over time. People may have experiences that lead to this disorder such as a death of a loved one, losing a job, relationship problems. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that changes the amygdala and prefrontal cortex and how they work (King, para.16). Even if someone is diagnosed with an anxiety condition one is not destined to always be anxious. I have been in therapy for over a year now and it has really helped me manage my anxiety. I have found some CBT techniques helpful. Therapy gives people the chance to unlearn anxious behaviors or at least manage the symptoms better if they want the help.
One effect of generalized anxiety disorder is difficulty interacting with other people. For example, in the New York Times article, “Understanding the Anxious Mind,” Robin Marantz Henig talks about how one of the participants in Dr. Kagan’s study interviewed with him and she talks about how she worries about what to say or do and feels nervous when she’s in a big group of people (par.4). People with generalized anxiety disorder may have trouble communicating with others because they overthink situations, but also because they experience various physical symptoms such as rapid pulse, sweating, dizziness, feeling sick (“Generalized Anxiety Disorder-Symptoms and Causes”, sect. Physical Signs and Symptoms). People with this disorder may have difficulty talking with people because they may have trouble concentrating and forget what to say. This can make having a social life challenging. I often have trouble talking with people because of many of these physical symptoms. It’s gotten better but it still happens at times, especially when I’m around a group of people. Having an anxiety disorder can sometimes lead to panic attacks and that can also cause more worry. You never know when something can trigger a panic attack. In the New York Times article, “How to Combat Your Anxiety, One Step at a Time”, the author discusses how she began experiencing panic attacks and she was worried about when they would happen (Doll, par.1). Having to worry about panic attacks adds another burden to people with this disorder when they go out with people.
Another effect of this disorder is relationships can be more difficult to maintain. In the New York Times article, “Love Is The Anxiety That Binds,” Carmen Maria Machado discusses her various relationships that didn’t work out because she had anxious tendencies while her partners would be relaxed and laid back (par.5). Sometimes it can be challenging when you have an anxiety disorder when your significant other doesn’t. It can lead to many disagreements and miscommunication. A partner who doesn’t have this condition may not realize how impossible it feels to push through anxiety inducing situations. Along with complicating relationships with significant others, the symptoms of anxiety can also lead to problems with family members and friends. Some symptoms of GAD are sleep problems, mood swings, and depressive episodes. This can strain relationships because it can be challenging to deal with on a regular basis. I have had difficulty in the past with relationships when my anxiety would increase. When I have more anxiety, I have trouble sleeping and feel tired and moody. As a result, I would feel depressed and not feel like doing anything. People with generalized anxiety disorder may have trouble having good relationships with the people they care about because it’s a relentless disorder that physically and mentally drains the person affected and is hard on their loved ones.
Handling daily responsibilities can be incredibly difficult because of this disorder. In the New York Times article, “Understanding the Anxious Mind,” Henig asserts “It’s much harder to avoid social fears — you can avoid the dog on the way to school, but you still have to go to school” (par.31). When general anxiety disorder causes social fears, it can make personal and professional life more difficult. Socialization is everywhere. When I was a child, I was afraid any time I had to go to school or even over a friend’s house. My anxiety generally consists of social fears, so for a while it was difficult to go to school or stay with a job. It’s gotten better but sometimes I still get those anxious thoughts. This disorder may “impair your ability to perform tasks quickly and efficiently because you have trouble concentrating, take your time and focus from other activities, sap your energy, or increase your risk of depression” (“Generalized Anxiety Disorder-Symptoms and Causes”, sect. Complications). It can be difficult to perform a job when it’s hard to concentrate. The effects of this disorder can make it difficult to do your best at school or at a job.
Generalized anxiety disorder is a difficult condition to deal with every day. It causes excessive worrying and fear that can get in the way of living one’s life fully. It is “an inability to revel in the good that is happening right now because of extreme worry about what might happen soon” (King, par.10). Missing out on happy moments because your anxiety consumes every part of your life is a terrible way to live. It’s important for people to know the signs and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder so they can get help. There are many therapies and medications that help alleviate anxiety. It’s never too late reach out for help when you’re suffering.