Why do I feel anxious for no reason?

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Excessive Worry, Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Feeling overwhelmed by excessive worries and anxiety about everyday things? It might be Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Excessive worry can be a heavy burden to carry, and Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a common mental health condition that affects people of all ages. If you feel you would benefit from treatment, make sure to check out our psychology clinic in North Sydney.

Do I have anxiety?

We all worry sometimes, which is normal. However, Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be summarised by a constant state of unease, and excessive worry about various things in life, often referred to as “overthinking.” These worries can range from job responsibilities and financial matters to the health of loved ones and routine daily tasks. What sets Generalised Anxiety Disorder apart from normal worries about stressful events is the intensity and duration of these worries: if it is out of proportion to the actual situation, and very difficult to control, it is not “normal worries” any more.

Why do I feel anxious for no reason?

One of the hallmarks of Generalised Anxiety Disorder is the persistence of worry. The topics often change over time, depending on your age. Children with Generalised Anxiety Disorder tend to worry about school, friends, and performance, while older adults may focus more on family well-being or their own health. Despite the shifting content, the excessive worry remains a constant companion. Therefore, therapy must not overfocus on the specifics of the worries, as they often change. Rather, psychologists help to build up resilience about the generalised nature of the disorder, so whatever the worry is, you are equipped to deal with it.

Anxiety Symptoms – Generalised Anxiety Disorder

  • Persistent worries
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Muscle tension
  • Getting tired easily
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going “blank”
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep problems (hard to fall asleep, or to stay asleep)

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, individuals with Generalised Anxiety Disorder may experience physical symptoms like trembling, sweating, nausea (sometimes even throwing up), or muscle aches. These physical symptoms sometimes lead to substantial time away from work or school (“school refusal”).

Anxiety in children or adults?

Generalised Anxiety Disorder doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone. However, it’s more commonly diagnosed in women than in men. The prevalence tends to peak in middle age. Within a 12-month window, 0.9% of adolescents and 2.9% of adults meet criteria for the disorder.

When does it start?

For many individuals, Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a lifelong companion. Symptoms often begin early in life and are often linked to an “anxious temperament”. While the median age of onset is around 30, it can manifest at any age. Unlike some other anxiety disorders, Generalised Anxiety Disorder is usually not diagnosed until adolescence or later.

Onset and Course

Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder often begin in childhood or adolescence but may manifest differently. The content of worry varies by age, with children worrying about school or performance and older adults worrying more about family and health. Symptoms tend to be chronic and can fluctuate between more severe and less severe forms throughout life. Without treatment, it is not likely that the symptoms would disappear.

Social Anxiety or Generalised Anxiety?

Individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder typically experience anticipatory anxiety. This means they feel anxious about upcoming social situations where they will be required to perform or be evaluated by others. The key point here is that their anxiety is primarily linked to these specific social scenarios. For example, the thought of giving a presentation at work, attending a social gathering, or going to a birthday party may trigger intense anxiety and fear.

In contrast, individuals with Generalised Anxiety Disorder have a different focus for their worries. They tend to experience excessive and persistent worry in various aspects of their life, whether or not they are being evaluated by others. Their anxiety is not limited to specific social situations; it can encompass a wide range of concerns, such as health, work, relationships, and more. Unlike social anxiety, generalised anxiety is not centred around social evaluation.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or Generalised Anxiety?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does cause “anxiety” as well and does have repetitive thoughts, or obsessions, which can be thought of as “overthinking”, similar to generalised anxiety. However, with OCD, these thoughts are either inappropriate, unwanted, and intrusive, or create urges (needing to do something specific). What makes OCD unique is the intrusive nature of these thoughts and the need to perform certain behaviours or compulsions to alleviate the anxiety or distress they cause.

In Generalised Anxiety Disorder, excessive, persistent worries primarily revolve around future problems, but without needing to “neutralise” them with a specific behaviour. The worry is intense, persistent, and difficult to control.

Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

In conditions like depression, people often have persistent and overwhelming worries as a symptom. This excessive worry is closely linked to the mood problems that are typical of depressive disorders. It is not considered a distinct anxiety disorder in these cases because it is a natural part of the depressive experience.

Home remedies for anxiety?

The good news is that Generalised Anxiety Disorder is common is treatable; the bad news is that it is common and does not just go away. With the guidance of a trained psychologist or mental health expert, you can learn effective strategies to manage excessive worry and improve your overall well-being. You don’t have to face it alone, and seeking help is a positive step towards a more balanced and peaceful life.