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Generalised Anxiety Disorder
& Worry

We all worry, and it's usually quite healthy or barely a problem. However, being 'a bit of a worrier' can become a problem.

Indeed, you may become 'a lot of a worrier', and your worry may get in the way of healthy functioning.

Your worry may be accompanied by general tension or agitation, by disrupted sleep or appetite. You might be a bit of a reassurance-seeker, or perhaps find that you need to rely upon others to help you make decisions.

These symptoms are some of these often found in people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

Overview & Symptoms

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterised by persistent and excessive worry about a range of topics, events, or activities. If you have GAD, you likely find it difficult to control your worry, which feels more intense and lasts longer than the anxiety most people experience.

Some common GAD symptoms include: 

Excessive Worry: This is the hallmark of GAD. Chronic, exaggerated worry about everyday life. This worry is often unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation.

Physical Symptoms: GAD is typically characterised by physical manifestations such as restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge. You may feel easily fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, be irritability, have muscle tension, or experience disturbed sleep.

Pervasiveness and Persistence: Unlike the occasional anxiety most people experience, your worry if you have GAD is pervasive, persistent, and can interfere with daily functioning.

Difficulty in Controlling Worry: You may feel that it's challenging to control your worry, or indeed you may feel that it controls you. You may find yourself worrying about practically anything, regardless of how likely it is to happen. You may know that it's not necessary to worry, but nevertheless find it very difficult to stop

Treatment for GAD

The gold-standard treatment for GAD is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). 

CBT helps in breaking the cycle of worry and anxiety by teaching individuals to approach their worries more rationally. This includes understanding how their thoughts contribute to anxiety symptoms and learning how to alter engagement with these these thought patterns to reduce worry and improve emotional regulation.

Importantly, our Penrith Clinical Psychologists will go beyond simply challenging your immediate worry. Crucially, they will help you to find the pattern underlying all of your worries; these are called your meta-beliefs, or your beliefs about your worry.

For example, you may hold a belief that worrying keeps you safe, or helps you to prepare. This belief encourages you to worry about many different things... Whether you'll be late to a meeting, whether the traffic update is still up-to-date, what if you run out of petrol on the way, what if you're late and the cat isn't fed, what if the traffic up-to-date has changed again, what if you can't focus because you're too worried, what if, what if, what if...

We can help you to identify whether you hold these types of beliefs too rigidly, and then we can help you challenge them, and put them behind you. You'll be less stressed, you'll get time back, and you'll be more able to get on with your day in a way that you value. Your cat'll also probably be fine. 

The process of CBT for GAD might seem challenging, as it involves confronting anxieties and worries. However, it is highly effective in helping you to understand the nature of your anxiety, and then develop new ways of thinking, and learn healthier coping mechanisms.

Our approach at Penrith includes a thorough assessment to ensure the therapy is tailored to your specific needs. We work collaboratively to develop strategies and skills to manage your anxiety, aiming to improve your overall quality of life.

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