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What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Alice had been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She sat paralyzed with fear, confined to home as her mind raced with worrying thoughts. Alice had experienced periods of anxiety before, and like most people she gradually got over it. But this was different; it started with her eldest daughter Zoe getting in with the wrong crowd. The new boyfriend was into drugs and Alice worried that Zoe's school work and gymnastics would suffer.

Worry and panic seemed to dominate every waking moment

Even when Zoe eventually stopped seeing the boyfriend, Alice could not sleep. But it did not stop there. When she met the other mums at school, endless negative thoughts about what they would think brought on panic attacks. Alice knew that this was crazy because they had all been so kind and understanding. Over the next two months things got steadily worse, she felt sick, exhausted and constantly worried about things that she used to take in her stride.

Characterized by persistent worrying over non-threatening events, generalized anxiety disorder makes your brain perceive everyday events as frightening. Picking the kids up from school, going shopping or even for a walk can feel like impossible tasks.


  • Illnesses or imbalance in the body. A virus or poor nutrition
  • The way that you think about life's' events, or, interpret the world around you
  • Medical and recreational drugs
  • Alcohol abuse.

Common symptoms

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Waking up with a nervous feeling in your stomach
  • Daily worry about present or future events
  • Headaches
  • Constipation and or diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea.

Alice's doctor prescribed antidepressants, but three months later she still found even a trip to the supermarket an ordeal. Feelings of panic would flood her body if she thought about Zoe, meeting other people or doing the most simple of tasks. Even when her husband got a stomach bug she panicked that it was something much worse.

Alice's recovery

A therapist helped Alice realize that expecting everything to go wrong was contributing to the panic. Instead of sitting for hours vividly imagining horrid outcomes; Alice made a persistent effort to expect the best in all situations. She also learnt how to relax in situations that had previously caused the panic. Other things that contributed to Alice feeling calmer and enjoying life again were:

  • Learning self hypnosis and enjoying its relaxing effects every day
  • Making effort to have quality time with Zoe again
  • Improving her eating habits by having a protein rich breakfast and nutritious food throughout the day
  • Walking to her local shop every day, then eventually to a nearby friends and supermarket
  • Starting doing tapestries again, something that she used to love
  • Actively challenging any negative thoughts that popped up for no real reason and thinking instead of multiple ways of explaining something to herself.

One in four people at any time during their lives will suffer debilitation from an anxiety disorder. People with general anxiety disorder like Alice are a familiar sight to doctors. They can offer help through medication but like Alice many find the symptoms are alleviated by an appropriate talking therapy, hypnosis, exercise and nutrition.

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Published by Mark Tyrrell - in Anxiety Treatment