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Ordinary pessimism or a disease? Generalised anxiety disorder

Constant despondency, irritability and excessive worry about everyone around us can under certain circumstances take a dangerous form. Generalised anxiety syndrome is a disorder that is characterized by constant fear and anticipation of impending misfortunes.

Tensions, stresses and associated difficult emotions in most cases do not go beyond the accepted norms of daily functioning. However, if every situation causes us inner anxiety, and everything that surrounds us feels like it will turn into misfortune, then it’s possible we are experiencing a generalised anxiety disorder. If the times of experiencing these negative emotions lengthen or become more frequent, then the likelihood of developing the syndrome increases.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Those affected by this syndrome live in constant suspense, fearing the future because of a decision made, upcoming events, black scenarios and unfortunate circumstantial complications. This person will also constantly reflect on past events, which can interfere with enjoying the present. It is important to note that these fears are usually unrealistic. From an objective point of view, there is no rationale for thinking about impending misfortune, if it is unlikely to happen. For example, talking to your boss should not cause great stress or an increase in adrenaline. However, a person with a generalised anxiety disorder will worry (perhaps for days) that the impending meeting is about reprimand or dismissal. Therefore, he will needlessly worry about finding a new job, and how the family will cope in a financial crisis etc. One negative thought attracts an avalanche of others over and over again.

Fear for no reason – where does it come from?

The environment in which we grow up plays a very important role in the development of generalised anxiety syndrome. Our parents may have reacted with excessive fear to our childish actions and behaviour, and caused fear to be engendered in relation to punishments and prohibitions. Such behaviours inhibit the development of a young person and cause a defensive reaction, that is, desire for escape. However, the child might also assume the same pattern of behaviour and will therefore begin to fear everything and everyone. He will develop negative thought patterns, transforming into increasingly dark visions of the future. Interestingly, a characteristic symptom of generalized anxiety disorder is a noticeable relaxation in the presence of loved ones from childhood, where the child feels safe only under certain conditions and in a certain group.

Constant worry – how to deal with it?

Worry and anxiety are not the only symptoms of this syndrome. As with most mental disorders, physical symptoms such as sleep disorders, constant fatigue, trouble concentrating, muscle tone, nausea and headaches are often present. Before consulting a specialist, we can test out whether we are dealing with a temporary decrease in mood, blues, pessimism or with true generalised anxiety syndrome.

To begin with try:

– introducing absolute sleep hygiene – ensure regular times of getting up and going to bed, a minimum of 7-hour sleep time;

– replacing the usual duvet with a weighted blanket or applying weighted blanket cover therapy during the day – this (tested) therapeutic method realistically reduces physical and mental tension;

– writing down the tasks that we have completed every day, and the problematic ones are always written into smaller stages;

– talking to friends and loved ones about our problems – another perspective can work wonders;

– before bedtime, recalling all positive events from the whole day.