Generalised Anxiety and Worry

Generalised anxiety disorder (or GAD) is characterised by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder tend to always expect the worse to happen and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school as well as a multitude of other issues. In people with GAD, the worry is often unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Everyday life becomes a perpetual state of worry, fear, and dread. Eventually, the anxiety dominates a person’s thinking and interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities, and relationships.

People with severe worry and generalised anxiety are often particularly concerned about “failure” and may report a sense of “inadequacy” or feeling “unable to cope” with stressful situations.  They often describe a sense of urgency about having to solve problems, which psychologists call the “looming cognitive style.”  That might mean, e.g., lying in bed at night worrying about problems that you would be better tackling at another time, during the day.  People often resort to trying to suppress their worry or distract themselves from it, particularly when it is very severe, but this tends to be an unhelpful way of coping in the longer-term.  Hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy offer alternative, evidence-based, ways of learning to respond to anxious thoughts without becoming too absorbed in them.

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