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Anxiety

How Do You Know If You Have Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Do you wake up most mornings with your stomach in knots and before you’ve even rolled out of bed you’ve got the feeling that something terrible’s about to happen?

If that sounds like you, you could be among the 3 million people in the UK living with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

The evolution of anxiety

Everyone experiences periods in their lives where they feel a bit down, nervous about an impending event, anxious about tests, exams or just a big day at work. Worrying is a wonderful part of what makes us human.

Worrying stems from our ancestors (like all of our instincts), the evolution of our anxiety came from our need to solve a problem, to seek an immediate return.

But in our current environment, in modern life, we so rarely require an immediate response. The vast majority of what we do is all about the long-term – the delayed return.

However, when we lived in caves or hunted on the savannahs, worrying and anxiety was what kept us alive, they triggered our survival instincts, to escape whatever was bothering us:

● The storm brewing overhead: seek shelter – problem solved – worry gone.
● The lion stalking us: runaway – problem solved – worry gone.
● Tummy rumbling: hunt or gather food – problem solved – worry gone.

Our brains have had over 200,000 years of hard wiring to worry when a problem was imminent, to protect our species. Our brains have not had time to evolve to living in this constantly stressful, 21st-century world. We have time to reflect, time to worry, time to mull over every little thing and decision.

You only have to look at the rest of the animal kingdom to see that we humans are the only ones who continue to tie ourselves up in knots, once the danger has passed.

When anxiety gets out of hand

GAD is indicative of our hectic, stressful lives. The perpetual uncertainty that dominates our existence: lack of job security, bills to pay, relationship fears, FOMO (fear of missing out).

GAD can change your personality and can cause you to think differently – to see the world in a negative light.

GAD can present itself both with psychological and physical symptoms.

Psychological symptoms:

1. Restlessness
2. A sense of dread
3. Feeling constantly “on edge”
4. Difficulty concentrating
5. Irritability

To minimise the impact of these symptoms, you can find yourself withdrawing socially, feeling you have to hide away from the world to stop the constant worrying.

The little things pile up and you can find yourself unable to cope with the pressures of work, just leaving the house can cause you distress.

The more you worry, the worse it gets.

GAD can manifest physically too, with symptoms such as:

● Tiredness
● Heart palpitations
● Trembling or shaking
● Feeling sick – being sick
● Loose bowels (IBS)
● Difficulty falling or staying asleep

And the problem is, sometimes you don’t even know what is causing GAD. You can’t see what the trigger is, so you don’t know that you’re having a reaction, which can cause you to spiral even further, worrying there is nothing wrong and that you can’t be fixed.

But you can. There are really effective ways to deal with GAD that are based on scientific evidence and not woo woo magic or crystal waving. Don’t let GAD put a handbrake on your happiness any longer, NOW is the time to seek professional help https://www.wendydignan.co.uk/

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Retired ex-professional football who played for Bury, Wigan, Stoke, Preston, Norwich, Leicester and Brighton during a 14 year career. After leaving professional football, Jason battled depression and recovered with the help of therapy and family support.

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JB

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