Generalized Anxiety Disorder in women

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-Vindhya Asthana Sharma

Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) is distinctively marked by Excessive feeling of fear, worries, uneasiness and restlessness that lasts at least six months or longer.

Anxiety is normal response to stress and to some extent helps protect us. It puts our body in a state of readiness so that it can retort to the threat quickly.
Anxiety and worries about our job, future or family may not only help to guard against danger but may also keep us from making rash decisions that could later lead to a precarious situation. However, when these sorts of fears gain an upper hand, the situation can become alarming.

Is GAD common?

It affects about 2.8% of U.S population aged 18-54. Children and adolescents are affected more, but it can begin in adulthood too. There is a marked paucity of data that women suffer twice more likely as compared to men.

How can we identify GAD in us?

  • Anxiety is so disabling that we dread daily activities like riding a bus
  • Unable to relax even when there are no signs of fear
  • Concentration is difficult
  • Startle easily
  • Trouble falling asleep or sleeping sound
  • Everyday headaches, Body ache or Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Unexplained nausea and sweating
  • Irritability
  • Trembling
  • Frequent Urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hot flashes

Hormonal changes during menstrual cycle, traumatic events, experience of abuse, sexual assault, genetic inheritance, etc. are known to trigger GAD leading to serious health hazards including depression. The only thing that can pull a woman up: is the woman herself. Yes, you can create a huge dent in your physical, mental and emotional being by your own interventions.

As a woman, you always have the power to uplift your soul and face it as a challenge when it comes to stress, depression and mood disturbances. Feeling better does take time but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself on every single day.

Simple lifestyle changes that help:

  • Take 30 minutes of sunlight everyday
  • Stroll around in the corridor
  • Sit out in the garden and have your coffee
  • Get yourself moving everyday – Yoga, Pilates, Aerobics, Zumba
  • Consciously avoid the urge to isolate
  • Prefer healthy over junk
  • Replenish yourself with plenty of fluids
  • Carve out more time for rest
  • Sleep for eight hours
  • Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and lot of deep breathing.
  • Engage socially
  • Never mind talking about your feelings to someone you trust.

Quick Mood Booster Tips:

  • Sip antioxidants rich Green tea
  • Put on your shoes, Jog or do a medium-intensity workout to fasten your circulation.
  • Change your negative emotions into positive by meditating.
  • Get out of the house, surprise a friend, watch a movie
  • Volunteer for a meaningful activity like taking care of a library, babysitting, teaching art and painting to those who can’t afford, mentor young students or business people.

Treatment for GAD includes a combination of Anti-depressants, Cognitive Behaviour therapy by clinical Psychologist and Counselling.

The writer is Senior Consultant Physiotherapist & Ergonomist at Physioworx Healthcare, Gurgaon.

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