THIS week I would like to talk about a type of anxiety called generalised anxiety disorder (or GAD for short).
The main ingredient of GAD is worry. Yes, that's right: worry. It's a disabling condition that involves excessive and exaggerated worry about a range of everyday situations.
Most people who have this problem say they worry about "everything and anything".
It's a problem that affects about 1 in 20 of us, but research suggests it's frequently undiagnosed and left untreated, which is a great shame, because when you have GAD you will be at increased risk of depression and you are likely to suffer a range of physical symptoms including headaches, back pain, tummy upsets and also disturbed sleep.
Worrying excessively makes you feel absolutely awful.
Why does it get missed so often?
1. Worrying is normal and we all do it. Because it's such a normal activity, we tend to underestimate its significance when people have an excess of it. "You're worried? Don't worry about it."
2. Frequently I ask people with this problem about whether they have a worry problem. "Oh, no," they say, "That's not a problem. I've always been a worrier. Everybody is in our family" They're so used to it, they even think it's normal.
3. Most people only recognise it when they become so exhausted by worry that they get depressed. They then get treated for depression, and not the underlying anxiety problem.
Do you feel anxious, nervous or worried most of the time? Do you worry about several things at once? Do you find it hard to control the worry?
If you have answered 'yes' to those three questions, then you may have a problem with GAD.
Outlook South West provides NHS-funded treatment for this problem. Ring 01208 871905 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org