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Updated: Oct 23, 2023

I'm angry and I don't know why. Everything seems to grate my nerves and I feel guilty because the things I'm reacting to are benign. I can't stop my mind from obsessing over details from the day, a minor slipup that everyone else has already forgotten or a mildly embarrassing moment won't let me sleep. My muscles are tense, I can feel them, and this just adds to my overwhelming worry about every moment of every day.

I don't actually feel this way (all of the time), but I know many of my patients unfortunately do. It's not always all of it, but if even a fraction of the above resonates with you and how you live your day (or try to), you may have an anxiety disorder of some kind. What may be worse, those who don't understand, those who don't experience the world like that may tell you to just relax or calm down. If you have generalized anxiety disorder or any anxiety disorder, you don't need me to tell you that's not easy. It's sometimes not even possible.

Overactive pathways in the brain, storms of neurotransmitters functioning outside typical realms of human experience can change the entire way you experience the world. A steady decisive stream of thought can easily become a torrent of inescapable thought threatening to drown you, often succeeding. Medication is not always the answer. Counseling is not always the answer. Fortunately, in most cases, either or both can improve things dramatically.

Below I will list the typical features and diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety disorder. If this describes you and you think I can help, I think I can help you, too. One of my favorite things in this world is finding the right treatment plan for someone who has been suffering through this. I've seen them come back a month later forever changed after getting to experience the world again on their own terms.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Screening: GAD-7 Questionnaire; Scale of 0-3 Over past 2 weeks how often do you:

1. Feel nervous anxious or on edge?, 2. Not being able to stop or control worrying? 3. Worrying too much about different things. 4. Trouble relaxing. 5. Being so restless it is hard to sit still. 6. Becoming easily annoyed or irritable. 7. Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen.

(Follow link below to take full screening and get a score back)

Diagnostic Criteria from DSM V:

  1. Excessive anxiety and worry on more days than not for at least 6 months about a number of events or activities (e.g. work or school performance)

  2. It is difficult to control this worry

  3. Anxiety and worry are associated with at least 3 of the below present on more days than not for last 6 months:

    • Blanking out or difficulty concentration

    • Easily fatigued

    • Sleep changes (can't fall asleep or poor quality sleep)

    • Keyed up on edge or restless

    • Irritability

    • Unexplained muscle tension

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