Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is diagnosed when a person is excessively preoccupied with and worried about everyday life topics, such as finances, employment, education, and relationships. The worry is persistent and disproportionate to the situation, which can cause a variety of other uncomfortable symptoms including:
- Rapid heart rate
- Stomach upset
- Physical tension
- Sleep disturbance
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Difficulty concentrating
Since GAD symptoms are very difficult to control, they can start to impact different domains of life and cause significant distress. For instance, persistent sleep disturbance can compound on difficulty concentrating at work or school. It is important to identify and resist urges to engage in safety behaviors, such as excessive planning, checking, and avoidance.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps clients learn to manage their symptoms by identifying unhelpful thought patterns and making behavioral changes.
CBT is a collaborative process between the client and therapist. The therapist provides foundational skills and psychoeducation about the client’s symptoms before moving on to behavioral assignments.
Mindfulness training assists clients in building their tolerance for discomfort by learning to simply notice and accept their experiences through guided practices.
Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) is the main behavioral therapy used to treat anxiety disorders. ERP teaches you to gradually approach anxiety-provoking situations without engaging in safety behaviors, or compulsions.
Effective ERP respects the client’s values while challenging their compulsive behaviors. This means that we have a conversation about the roadmap for recovery before starting ERP and you are in the driver’s seat. I will provide suggestions based on my experience treating clients, but there is always room for feedback and refinement.
Ask a question or book an appointment below. For emergencies, call 911 or visit your nearest hospital.