In this post we’ll look at generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, what they are, and what are the causes. We’ll conclude with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder treatments.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized anxiety disorder is also known as GAD.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it. People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) go through the day filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke it. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Living with GAD can be a long term and challenging ordeal. This has certainly been the case with me.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Causes
The exact cause of GAD is not known. However, some research suggests that GAD may run in families, and it may also grow worse during stress. GAD usually begins at an earlier age and symptoms may manifest themselves more slowly than in most other anxiety disorders. Some people with GAD report onset in early adulthood, usually in response to a life stressor. Once GAD develops, it can be chronic, but can be managed, if not all-but-alleviated, with proper treatment.
Generalized anxiety disorder may also be substance induced. Specifically, it may be caused by alcohol or benzodiazepine dependence.
Generalized anxiety disorder has been linked to disrupted functioning of the amygdala in the brain, and its processing of fear and anxiety.
What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks. These attacks can last from minutes to hours.
Panic disorder is a real illness that can be successfully treated. It is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness. During these attacks, people with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain, or smothering sensations. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control. Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov
I was diagnosed with panic disorder at age 24. For a detailed list of the signs and symptoms of panic attacks, please click here.
Panic Disorder Causes
Like GAD, the exact cause of panic disorder is unknown. There doesn’t seem to be a singular cause for panic disorder, but it has been found to run in families, and this may mean that genetics plays a strong role in determining who will get it. It has also been found to exist as a co-morbid condition with many hereditary disorders, such as bipolar disorder, and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.
Psychological factors, stressful life events, life transitions, environment, and thinking in a way that exaggerates relatively normal bodily reactions are also believed to play a role in the onset of panic disorder. Often the first attacks are triggered by physical illnesses, major stress, or certain medications. People who tend to take on excessive responsibilities may develop a tendency to suffer panic attacks. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients also show a much higher rate of panic disorder than the general population.
There is also evidence suggesting that hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, mitral valve prolapse and menopause can cause or aggravate panic disorder.
Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder
the two main treatments for GAD and panic disorder are psychotherapy and medication. The patient may be treated with one or both, under the recommendation of a qualified physician. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is felt to be the most effective form of psychotherapy for GAD. The main class of drugs prescribed for GAD and panic disorder are benzodiazepines. Common benzodiazepine include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and alprazolam (Xanax).
Antidepressants may also be prescribed. Example include: paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram (Lexapro), sertaline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor).
Over the past 10 or so years, people have been looking for better and more permanent GAD and panic disorder treatments. Psychotherapy is very expensive and is often only partially covered or not covered at all by health insurance. The medications prescribed often have troublesome side effects, negatively affecting the quality of life. Moreover, these treatments are merely coping mechanisms for GAD or panic disorder, many people look for alternative treatments. Most sufferers today are seeking a permanent cure.
To date, thousands of people worldwide have been successfully cured of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder with Panic Away and The Linden Method programs.
In closing, although the causes for GAD and panic disorder remain poorly understood, there are many options for treatment. Both Panic Away and The Linden Method are regarded as successful programs that provide long term cure from both generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
I wish you peace,
p.s. For more information, see my reviews of Panic Away and The Linden Method. Choose the program that’s right for you, and you’ll soon be well and happily on your way to permanent recovery from GAD and panic attacks.