Anxiety/ Panic Attacks
If you have ever struggled with anxiety you know it can be crippling. Below is a description of what anxiety is, some things that feed it, and tools and mantras you can use to help reduce it.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can be a challenge to diagnose. People consider panic attacks as the ultimate anxiety disorders, but GAD is different in that there are generally no panic attacks associated with the condition.
As a result of this misconception, without the experience of panic attacks, a person may think they are "just worrying too much." Their struggles with constant worry may be minimized or dismissed and, in turn, not properly diagnosed or treated.
Most of us experience worry and situations that can cause us to feel anxious, so what are professionals looking for to help determine if someone's worry and anxiety are related to GAD?
An evaluation of symptom criteria, as outlined in "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," 5th Edition (also known as the DSM-5), is the first step. Mental health professionals look for factors like excessive, hindering worry paired with a variety of physical symptoms, then use proven diagnostic assessments to make a diagnosis and rule out other possibilities.
The DSM-5 outlines specific criteria to help professionals diagnose generalized anxiety disorder. Having a standard set of symptoms to reference when assessing clients helps them to more accurately diagnose mental health concerns and, in turn, create a more effective plan of care.
Criteria for Diagnosing GAD
When assessing for GAD, clinical professionals are looking for the following:
- The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least six months and is clearly excessive.
- The worry is experienced as very challenging to control. The worry in both adults and children may easily shift from one topic to another.
- The anxiety and worry are accompanied by at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms (In children, only one of these symptoms is necessary for a diagnosis of GAD):
- Edginess or restlessness
- Tiring easily; more fatigued than usual
- Impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank
- Irritability (which may or may not be observable to others)
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
- Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep)
Excessive worry means worrying even when there is no specific threat present or in a manner that is disproportionate to the actual risk.3 Someone struggling with GAD experiences a high percentage of their waking hours worrying about something. The worry may be accompanied by reassurance-seeking from others.4
In adults, the worry can be about job responsibilities or performance, one’s own health or the health of family members, financial matters, and other everyday, typical life circumstances. In children, the worry is more likely to be about their abilities or the quality of their performance (for example, in school).5 Many people with GAD also experience symptoms such as sweating, nausea, or diarrhea.6
The anxiety, worry, and other associated symptoms make it hard to carry out day-to-day activities and responsibilities. They may cause problems in relationships, at work, or in other important areas of life.7
In order to give a diagnosis of GAD, these symptoms also must be unrelated to any other medical conditions and cannot be explained by a different mental disorder or by the effect of substance use, including prescription medication, alcohol, or recreational drugs.8
The content above is taken from this site below.
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