Generalised Anxiety Disorder

When there is a constant anxiety lasting for six months or more with excessive worry in proportion to actual events this may indicate Generalised Anxiety Disorder. There is a tendency to look for things that can go wrong and to focus on the improbable negative outcomes rather than likely positive outcomes. There is heightened attention to what might go wrong and how it could negatively impact self and others. Anxieties and worries can arise about health, money, family, work in fact just about anything that threatens the safety and well being of yourself and those around you. The starting point can be something quite small that through negatively dominating thinking escalates and spirals out of control.

This could be as simple as the concern about not falling asleep and subsequent escalated catastrophising. With thoughts of sleeping through the alarm, that results in being late for work, that leads to being sacked and never getting another job. Continuing to catastrophise about not being able to pay the bills, losing the house, the spouse and children going to live with their grandparents and having to live on the street.

This thinking follows a pattern of steps that are catastrophising with negatives outcomes actively sought and focused on to reinforce the apparent benefit of looking out for danger before it happens, whatever it might be. GAD is exhausting and it takes a huge amount of energy to keep going in the face of impending doom and despair. The faulty logic is if it doesn’t happen today, it will happen the next day or the day after that.

There isn’t one single approach to combating GAD and those compulsive negative thoughts.

Self Support

Things you might do; set aside 15 minutes worry time and write those worries down. It’s useful to bracket the time spent actively worrying and also to refer back to those notes later as overwhelmingly the worries do not manifest.

Do something physical, walk, dance, go to the gym. Be active, eat well and take care of self. Set aside time for fun doing something that is enjoyable and if possible with other people.

Try to resist the use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine as they can increase the symptoms of anxiety. Remember to be compassionate to yourself; be nurturing and understanding of self rather than critical and demanding.

Relieving the anxiety

In the sessions I will use Transactional Analysis to help you explore your values and beliefs learnt in childhood from parents, teachers, relatives etc. This is contrasted with historical thoughts, feelings and behaviours being experienced.

Frequently the demands of those inherited values and beliefs conflict with the internalised view of self and the ability to constantly meet those demands create an inner tension. This tension manifests as anxiety tension between the two incompatible positions.

Through bringing the two opposing positions into awareness the here and now self can perceive the reality of the impasse and challenge those old ways of being.

A heavy sense of being responsible for others is often held. Coupled with an underlying need to do things perfectly so as to avoid failure and avoid the consequences.

Our work will change the focus of responsibility on being for self, that we cannot be responsible for other others. That good enough is good enough and that this in its self does not lead to failure.

Self-criticism will be countered with self-nurturing and compassion, fear of failing with spontaneity and risk taking.

For more information on GAD :