What Is General Anxiety Disorder With An Example?
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a mental illness. The Mayo Clinic characterizes GAD as “severe ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities.” Anxiety is a normal emotional reaction in response to stressful situations. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) explains that generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most “common mental disorders in the United States, and can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life and disrupt important activities of daily living.” An adolescent that struggles with GAD will likely experience a large percentage of his or her waking hours excessively worrying about something, even when there is no specific threat present. Reports have noted that GAD affects nearly eight percent of teenagers in America.
Example Of GAD
It is important to note that every person is different, and the symptoms of GAD that present in each teen will range in severity and duration. The following vignette was written by a teenager diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder:
My stomach hurts and I constantly have sweaty palms. Here is how my day went: I was in my math class, and I dropped my pencil and when I leaned down to pick it up, I know everyone looked at me…I could feel them staring. I am sure they all were thinking about how clumsy and stupid I am. I couldn’t think about anything else for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to eat my lunch because I wasn’t hungry and after school, I took the long walk home. On my walk, I realized I didn’t pay attention to the actual math lesson and started thinking about the big red F I was going to get at the top of my paper on the next math quiz. What if other people see my grade? What if my parents find out? What if I fail this math class and I have to repeat the tenth grade and then don’t get accepted into any college? I am going to puke.
All this internal conflict, worry, fear, and overwhelming anxiety manifested in this young individual simply because she dropped her pencil during her math class. The above example of how the symptoms of GAD have affected this individual and sheds a small amount of light on how damaging and pervasive this disease can be. Young people with GAD spin out and sink deeper and deeper into their anxiety. To be clinically diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, a young person must experience ongoing, debilitating symptoms for more than six months.
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Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
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