Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a fairly common disorder that is characterized by long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on any one object or situation. Generalized anxiety disorder is more than the normal anxiety people experience day to day. Individuals that struggle with this condition tend to have chronic and exaggerated worry, even though nothing seems to provoke it. Individuals with this level of anxiety may constantly anticipate disaster or may worry excessively about health, money, family, or work. Sometimes these worries can be so overwhelming that it makes it difficult to function in normal ways. The anxiety can become so debilitating that it begins to affect all areas of life including the ability to work and maintain healthy relationships.
People with GAD can't seem to shake their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. They are often unable to relax and have trouble falling or staying asleep. Their worries are frequently accompanied by physical symptoms, such as trembling, twitching, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, sweating, or hot flashes. They may also feel lightheaded or out of breath at times. In addition, they may have problems making daily decisions, concentrating, or remembering recent decisions or conversations.
Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere and without warning. A person experiencing panic attacks may live in fear of another attack and, as a result, may avoid places where they have experienced an anxiety attack before. During a panic attack, a person suffers from brief episodes of intense terror and apprehension, often marked by trembling, shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing. In addition, a person experiencing a panic attack may experience chest pains and numbness in their hands and feet. They often feel that they are having a heart attack and may end up in the emergency room because of a fear that they are about to die. As a result, many people develop a hyper vigilance to signs and symptoms of anxiety, which ironically frequently contributes to the recurrence of the anxiety. People who experience panic attacks may perceive any physiological change as a possible life-threatening illness. This can lead to significant impairment in the ability to function, including driving, working, shopping, or even simply leaving the home.
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder primarily characterized by repetitive obsessions (distressing, persistent, unrealistic and intrusive thoughts, fears, or images) and compulsions (urges to perform specific repetitive behaviors, acts, or rituals). People with OCD are often aware that their obsessions or compulsions are irrational, but they feel powerless to stop them. They feel driven to perform the compulsive acts in order to ease their stressful feelings. The obsessions and compulsions can become so frequent and intense that they can make it difficult for an individual to function. This can create significant distress and lead to additional feelings of anxiety and depression, which can in turn increase the obsessions and compulsions.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder which is caused by a traumatic experience that is so extreme that it overwhelms an individual’s natural coping mechanisms. People with PTSD often experience a number of symptoms, including fear, hyper vigilance, horror, helplessness about the future, flashbacks of the event, avoidant behaviors, anxiety, anger, recurrent upsetting and violent dreams about the event, emotional numbness and depression. They may also become extremely irritable, feel overwhelming guilt, or begin to drink or use drugs to cope. PTSD can be triggered by a variety of events, including wartime combat, natural disasters, rape, hostage situations, child abuse (sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional), serious accidents, or violence.
New Dimensions Can Help!If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 281-333-2284 (Clear Lake area) or 1-800-685-9796 (The Woodlands). You can also click here to schedule an assessment online. Additional assessment times are available by calling the numbers above.