Generalized Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) can be seen in both adult and youth populace. It is characterized by insistent and uncontrolled worry. People experiencing GAD get stuck physically and mentally as one of their problems leads to a whole new series of problems.
The Anxiety Cycle
The cycle can be described with this 5-step flow:
- Intrusive Worry
- While worries are generally solvable, people with GAD seem to maintain them for many reasons.
- Biased Thinking
- Worries persist because of biased thinking which often has the flavor of exaggeration of how bad the situation is or how bad the outcomes can be. They are fed with the worrier’s negativity about oneself.
- Biased Information Processing
- A person with GAD can be biased in selecting information or memory relative to his or her worries. Even though there are evidences that prove their worries to be unfounded, they tend to ignore it and focus more on the negative side.
- Anxiety Reduction Strategy
- Usually, worriers tend to suppress their anxieties, seek false assurance that nothing bad is ever going to happen and completely avoid situations that may trigger their anxiety.
- Sad to say, the anxiety reduction strategies don’t help the person at all but make them feel more terrible; thus the cycle is repeated.
How to Break the Cycle
To overcome anxiety cycle, one must learn to do the following:
- Identify the thought and try to label it (like is it worry, judgment, imagination, fear…etc.) and be monitor of the moments when you feel it strongly, as well as the moment when you feel that it is fading away.
- Think of the reasons and critically evaluate your worry or anxiety. You can try the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you have more balanced views of the relevant facts.
- Instead of avoiding, confront your fears, worries and anxieties. Learn through experience that there will be no bad outcomes or that if there are, know that these are manageable.