STRESS Beyond Belief


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A lot of commitments lead to a lot of stress and a lot of stress leads to worry.  I've been worried recently that my worrying has been negatively affecting my personal relationships.  After reading the Science News Article, 

Worrying Can Impact Interpersonal Relationships, Study Finds,

I discovered that there is a condition called GAD, generalized anxiety disorder.  (As an aside, I don't believe that I have this condition, but I was interested in researching it anyway).  A study on GAD was conducted by a Case Western Reserve University faculty member, who worked with colleagues at our very own Penn State University.  The article didn't give many details about the studies but they did reveal the four "distinct interactive styles prominent among people with GAD -- intrusive, cold, nonassertive and exploitable."

The article makes the argument that the same worry could be handled in an entirely different way depending on the person.  

The worry of someone's health and safety was used as an example in the article: 
"One person may exhibit that worry through frequent intrusive expressions of concern for the other person. Think of the parent or spouse who calls every five minutes to get an update on what's happening.

Another person may exhibit the worry by criticizing the behaviors that the person believes to be careless or reckless."

Needless to say, worry can affect the way that one handles interactions with their loved ones and this can ultimately fracture those relationships.

I didn't realize how big of a deal this GAD condition really is.  The question "How does Anxiety Affect Your Relationships" lead me to a website that discussed the severity of the condition.  The site is actually called PANIC ATTACKOLOGY and featured a video that advertised a cure for panic attacks and general anxiety.

According to this site, "there are roughly 4 million Americans who suffer from" GAD.  Unlike the other article, this one discussed the physical symptoms associated with anxiety, "including sweating, trembling, nausea, dizziness, and fainting and muscular tension."  The article also suggested that another potential consequence of the condition is irritability, which ultimately can fracture relationships along with the ways that the first article described.

When I looked into the question of how worrying affects relationships, I didn't expect to learn so much about such a serious condition related to panic and stress.  I still have a lot of questions about the condition.  How does someone know that they have GAD?  Is it inherent or developed and if it's not inherent, are people of a certain fill-in-the-blank more likely to get it?  Finally, what is the best way to treat it?

I'll be sure to expand on this next time!

 

1 Comment

Coincidentally, I'm taking a class this semester called Abnormal Psychology in which we just discussed General Anxiety Disorder. The DSM-IV (the diagnostic manual for psychological disorders) has a list of symptoms that someone needs to meet before they can be diagnosed with GAD and it needs to be diagnosed by a licensed psychologist, but a list of symptoms can be found at the link on the bottom of my comment. To answer your other two questions: no one knows why GAD develops in some people and not others (although brain systems are believed to play a role) and the treatment for GAD varies depending on the mental health professional treating the client with GAD. Psychotherapy is commonly used as a method to unroot the cause of your anxiety. Anti-anxiety medication is also commonly used to treat GAD.

More information about GAD can be found here: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/how-is-gad-treated.shtml.

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