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What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

a person sits on the ground outside with their hand nervously on their head wondering what is anxiety

Anxiety disorders can impact anyone at any time. Sometimes, a stressful event can cause anxiety symptoms, such as a deteriorating personal relationship or a struggle with addiction. Other times, anxiety can come from telling yourself the worst will happen, and sometimes, you may not even know why you feel anxious. Addiction can also trigger anxiety or anxious feelings can cause drug or alcohol cravings. But what is anxiety, exactly?

The anxiety treatment program at 7 Summit Pathways can help identify the reason behind your anxiety, treat your symptoms, and give you the hope of a life without addiction and anxiety.

What Is Anxiety?

Almost everyone feels anxious at some point in their lives. Maybe it’s right before an important job interview or in the beginning of a new relationship. However, anxiety disorders go beyond the normal feelings of anxiety and can impact your daily life.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), one of the most common anxiety conditions, happens when you experience excessive worry and anxiety about various events or activities during a period of at least six months. During that time, you usually feel anxious more days than not, and you will have trouble controlling your worry. Usually, a clinical professional will diagnose you with GAD if you’ve also experienced at least three symptoms of anxiety the majority of the time.

What Causes Anxiety?

Unfortunately, no one knows the exact causes of anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health believes genetic and environmental factors play a role, but more researchers are studying brain chemistry as another possible cause. It’s important to remember that anxiety isn’t your fault. You may develop GAD simply because you’re pre-disposed from a family member, or you may be faced with stressful situations out of your control that increase your anxiety.

Anxiety can also occur alongside addiction. Sometimes, people use alcohol or drugs to try to ease their anxiety symptoms, but these substances can make your anxiety worse. Other times, you may suffer from an addiction that also causes your anxiety.

Common Anxiety Signs

Identifying the common symptoms of anxiety can help you start a conversation with a loved one or even identify some areas you’ve been struggling with. Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling restless
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Tense muscles
  • Sleep disturbances

These physical and mental symptoms can interfere with your daily life. Irritability may drive away those who are closest to you and cause you to retreat within yourself. Difficulty sleeping and concentrating can create absences from school and work. Many of these overall symptoms can also contribute to feelings of helplessness and despair as you struggle to figure out what causes your anxiety and how to control it.

Less Common Anxiety Symptoms

In some cases, anxiety can manifest in unexpected ways. Some examples include:

  • Abdominal pain and digestive issues
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Panic attacks (short but intense episodes of fear)
  • Phobias (intense fears of specific objects or situations)

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek support and treatment. These less common symptoms can also have a significant impact on your daily life, and it’s crucial to address them in order to improve your overall well-being.

What’s Anxiety Got to Do with Addiction?

Anxiety and addiction are often intertwined, with one fueling the other in a vicious cycle. People may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their anxiety symptoms, but these substances can actually make anxiety worse in the long run. As they become more dependent on these substances, their anxiety may continue to spiral out of control.

On the other hand, those struggling with addiction may also experience anxiety as a result of their addictive behaviors. Shame, guilt, and fear of consequences can all contribute to feelings of anxiety in individuals struggling with addiction.

Call 7 Summit Pathways for Anxiety Treatment in Tampa

So, what is anxiety in your experience? Speak with a professional at 7 Summit Pathways in Tampa to learn more about anxiety, its causes, and how it can be treated. Our team of experienced professionals specializes in treating both addiction and anxiety disorders.

We focus on individualized patient-centered treatment that touches on the seven dimensions of wellness. We’ll explore physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and other areas of wellness to figure out what causes your anxiety and how to treat it. We’ll also help treat your addiction and get you back to the positive life you deserve to live.

We know you’re feeling scared and alone, but our experienced staff is ready to help. Contact us online today or call 813.212.7149 to get a second chance at life.