Anxiety disorder is on the rise in Canada and across North America, but the people suffering from it can’t all be placed in the same category. Anxiety disorder is complex and is actually split into more than one specific definition.
Although anxiety disorders as a whole are the most common mental illness in Canada, generalized anxiety disorder is the broadest anxiety disorder. According to Statistics Canada, generalized anxiety disorder affects 3 per cent of the Canadian population. Typically this disorder begins in childhood or adolescence but seems to be more common with the onset of adulthood. Symptoms are typically gradual, developing at a slower rate that most anxiety disorders. Stressful situations are most often when anxiety is noticed for these patients.
Although individuals with generalized anxiety disorder normally have had feelings of anxiety their whole life, the things that they worry about may often change over the course of their lives.
The treatment of anxiety is never simple. The two most common treatments are medication and psychotherapy. Some patients choose to only use one, while others often choose both techniques. Some anti-anxiety medications are highly addictive and can only be taken for short periods of time. Medications taken for a longer period should be discussed with a qualified medical professional.
Overall it is very possible to live a long and happy life with generalized anxiety disorder, as long as you stay up to date on your treatment. It is important to seek the help of a professional if you are experiencing excessive worry accompanied by sleep problems, irrational fears, muscle tension, chronic indigestion, fatigue, headaches or panic.
People with any anxiety disorder are best helped when they are informed about what anxiety is, what type of disorder they have and how it relates to their lifestyle, personality and thinking. When people understand how anxiety develops and what they can do about it, they feel so much better as they realise that they can control it and people with high anxiety want to be in control.