To help you out understand some of the key factors of mental health problems and the relevant therapies and benefits associated, we have prepared some articles on each individual condition. These articles are based on scientific studies and they are written to facilitate and encourage you to come to face the problems you are seeking…
What are GAD and Panic Disorder?
GAD and Panic Disorder have two key anxiety signs: fear and worry. Fear is a response to a known threat whereas worry is a feeling of apprehension in response to an unknown threat.
GAD can be understood by excessive and irrational worry about everyday life that is disproportionate to the actual experience of life.
Panic Disorder can be understood by the reoccurrence of severe panic attacks. The causes and triggers to these attacks are varied and can often be linked with an underlying issue and/or further mental health problems.
Diagnosis of GAD is made if a person has experienced a lasting period with prominent tension, worry and feelings of apprehension, about every-day events and problems. GAD is understood by the core symptoms of fear and worry, decreased concentration, disturbed sleep, irritability, muscle tension, fatigue, and feelings of anxiety. Some associated symptoms include the following:
• Palpitations or accelerated heart rate
• Trembling or shaking
• Dry mouth
• Difficulty breathing
• Feeling of choking
• Chest pain or discomfort
• Nausea or abdominal distress
• Feeling dizzy, unsteady, faint or light-headed
• Feeling that objects or self are unreal
• Fear of losing control or passing out
• Fear of dying
• Hot flushes or cold chills
• Numbness or tingling sensations
• Muscle tension or aches and pains
• Restlessness and inability to relax
• A sensation of a lump in the throat or difficulty swallowing
• Exaggerated response to minor surprises or being startled
• Difficulty concentrating
• Persistent irritability
• Difficulty sleeping
The clear sign of a Panic Disorder involves having a series of intense episodes of extreme anxiety whilst having a panic attack. These attacks can last from 1 minute to 1 hour, although typically last for approximately ten minutes.
There are many known causes to a GAD and Panic Disorder. Learning from our personal experiences can be a main contributor to the development of an anxiety disorder.
For example, the experience of an anxiety-provoking event can lead to further anxiety about similar situations in the future. This can often be intertwined with pre-existing negative beliefs and poor coping strategies. It may also lead to a heightened sense of worry.
Some anxieties can interfere with everyday life and can be disproportionate to the actual threat.
Some negative life experiences which may contribute to the development include physical, sexual, emotional abuse, physical illness, war experience, and other traumas. If such experiences are left emotionally unresolved, this can often take the form of mental health problems including anxiety problems. Further environmental factors may enhance an existing anxiety problem such as poor social support and stress. There is also evidence to suggest that anxiety problems can derive from social observational learning. This means that some individuals may develop anxiety problems, solely from observing others who show anxiety, worry and distress. We learn from others and imitate their behaviours, particularly our parents when at a young age. Many individuals may not be able to identify a specific cause. Some research suggests that these individuals may have suppressed certain memories into their subconscious mind, therefore not consciously knowing why their anxiety disorder has developed.
Research indicates that a slight difference in a serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) may be associated with the development of GAD. The hormone called ‘serotonin’ is associated with feelings of well-being and happiness.
This finding shows that there may be some genetic influence to these anxiety disorders.
Panic and other anxiety symptoms have been found to be a possible side effect of certain medications. It is important to read the patient information leaflet of any medication being taken if concerned.