General Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder (PD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of General Anxiety
- Consistently worrying about particular situations, people, or things
- Thinking of all possible worst-case scenarios
- Perceiving situations as threatening when they’re not
- Difficulty with uncertainty
- Fear of making a poor decision
- Inability to let go of a concern
- Inability to relax or constantly feeling “on edge”
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle aches
- Trembling or twitching
- Digestive changes (constipation or diarrhea)
How Anxious Am I? Take this self-assessment
How often do you find yourself:
Causes and Risk Factors of General Anxiety
- Having a high chronic stress load
- Experiencing traumatic or stressful life events (contracting a virus, getting in an accident, experiencing an emotional event, childbirth, etc.)
- Experiencing traumas or stressful events in close succession
- Experiencing trauma in childhood
- A history of anxiety in your family
How General Anxiety is Diagnosed
To diagnose an anxiety disorder, a doctor will perform a physical exam, ask about your symptoms, and recommend blood tests, which helps them determine if another condition, such as hypothyroidism, may be causing your symptoms.
If the doctor does not find an underlying cause of the symptoms, they’ll perform a psychological evaluation to determine whether your thoughts, feelings, and behavioral patterns fit the criteria for general anxiety. Often, patients will complete a GAD9, which is a standardized form to assess if a patient has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
How General Anxiety is Treated
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Exposure therapy is a branch of CBT that involves gradually exposing the individual to whatever is causing them anxiety. As the sufferer improves, the exposures increase in terms of how challenging they are. Exposure therapy works by teaching a person’s brain that their triggers are safe and not to be feared, thereby switching off the part of the brain that’s over-firing. Over time, this reduces the feelings of anxiety a person has when they encounter or think about their triggers.
re-origin and exposure therapy actually have some similarities. Both methods work to rewire the brain using incremental training, gradually deconditioning the brain to its triggers. Unlike re-origin which is self-directed, however, exposure therapy is done with the help of a mental health provider. While exposure therapy is considered effective in overcoming specific fears, appointments can be pricey, making it inaccessible to many people due to cost.
Certain medications are often used to reduce or eliminate anxiety symptoms. One common group of medications prescribed for anxiety are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These are antidepressants, but they also have been shown to help with anxiety. They work by stimulating the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, namely serotonin, which helps regulate anxiety.
While antidepressants can be life-saving in certain situations, the major downside is that antidepressants don’t permanently repair the root neurological cause of the dysfunction. A person may feel better when they’re on antidepressants, however, anxiety may come rushing back when the person weans off of them. This class of medications also comes with a long list of potential side effects and many people have difficulty discontinuing use.
Another class of medications that’s used to treat anxiety includes benzodiazepines. While these drugs can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, they are highly addictive. People who regularly use them run the risk of developing an addiction and experiencing severe withdrawal if they try to discontinue them.
How We Approach General Anxiety
How to Live and Cope with General Anxiety
At re-origin, we believe that nobody should have to live or cope with persistent feelings of anxiety. We want you to eliminate the root causes of your anxiety and re-establish peace and happiness. Our program involves applying an easy-to-follow, five-step neurocognitive technique to override and rewire faulty conditioning in the brain and create new, functional neural pathways.
re-origin’s approach does not chase or mask symptoms, but rather works to rewire the part of the brain that’s causing the dysfunction (the limbic system), resulting in long-lasting recovery. The program is easy to follow, self-directed, cost-effective, and takes just minutes a day to implement.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Final Word from re-origin
- You did not cause this.
- Your inability to manage it is not a reflection of your strength.
- You’re not going insane. Your persistent, scary thoughts and feelings are simply the result of faulty transmissions in a malfunctioning brain.
- This condition is not permanent—you can undo the faulty wiring in your brain and make a full recovery with the help of re-origin.
- Ressler K. J. (2010). Amygdala activity, fear, and anxiety: modulation by stress. Biological psychiatry, 67(12), 1117–1119. Available From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2882379/
- Martin, E. I., Ressler, K. J., Binder, E., & Nemeroff, C. B. (2009). The neurobiology of anxiety disorders: brain imaging, genetics, and psychoneuroendocrinology. The Psychiatric clinics of North America, 32(3), 549–575. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684250/
- Hammond D. C. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety- and stress-related disorders. Expert review of neurotherapeutics, 10(2), 263–273.
- Shin, L. M., & Liberzon, I. (2010). The neurocircuitry of fear, stress, and anxiety disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(1), 169–191. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3055419/