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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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lanegwyn Offline
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Generalized Anxiety Disorder - February 6th 2011, 07:59 PM

I know the ultimate recourse is to ask a doctor, but I want to put my question here first and get a sense of what the answer might be.

What is the difference between normal anxiety and a diagnosable, treatable anxiety disorder- specifically GAD? Usually something is taken to the diagnosable level when it 'interferes with daily life', but everyone has anxiety and it always interferes, to some extent, with their lives.

I don't have any trouble sleeping thru the night, and I don't have significant muscle tensing or any of the other physical problems. But I identify very strongly with some of the other symptoms of GAD. Specifically, I worry constantly, and have trouble sitting still and focusing whenever I'm trying to do something productive. If it's something that numbs my mind, like spending hours online, I can sit still and keep at it indefinitely. Otherwise, I have trouble mainly because I can't stop thinking and worrying about other things. Whenever I'm trying to do homework I get up and walk around my house and am thinking about other things, maybe imagining conversations or scenarios- it takes hours to do homework that shouldn't take long at all. With bigger projects, I get intimidated and put them off- sometimes I just don't do them. It's invariably because I'm sure that I won't be able to do them up to par- but laziness is also a factor. I've also been told by my parents that I'm excessively irritable (though, I'm a teenager and maybe also just not a nice person? so I don't know whether to factor this in to the GAD self-diagnosis situation). I often worry about health- I've been certain, over the course of the past year, that I was going blind, developing schizophrenia, and dying of various terminal illnesses even though, in retrospect, I probably didn't have much real basis to think so. I still think/ hope/ fear (depending on the moment) that I'm going crazy or will die sometime soon.

I had some social anxiety when I was younger, but don't really have it anymore. I've never had a panic attacks, though when I went to Model UN last year- and during a few other similar experiences in the past- I did have some of those symptoms. Feeling hot, flushing, just... actually, I think I may have had panic attacks at Model UN, but it was an isolated incident.

I don't know whether to conclude that I'm someone who's so uncreative that she can't come up with any better use of her limited time alive than to worry, or that I have GAD and should seek treatment. I'm currently a bored high school-er with no friends, so I'm wondering if that's the cause of how I am (and GAD isn't). I just don't know where the line is between being naturally prone to anxiety and having full-fledged GAD.

I've been on Lexapro for depression, two separate times within the past few years, and it's also used to treat anxiety. I know it didn't make a massive difference but, honestly, I can't remember whether or not it did slightly help. I've come to the conclusion that I don't have depression. But maybe I have GAD. But shouldn't, then, there've been an unforgettable difference in my mental process when I was on the Lexapro?

Any responses would be much appreciated.

Last edited by lanegwyn; February 6th 2011 at 08:04 PM.
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Re: Generalized Anxiety Disorder - February 7th 2011, 01:22 AM

Well to me it sounds like you are self diagnosing yourself with a lot then worrying about that. So, leave it to a doctor or professional to diagnose because then if you don't you don't have to worry about it. Anxiety in the person without an anxiety disorder is nervousness over understandable things such as maybe a big test, a huge football game, being onstage, something like that. Anxiety disorders come when you start to worry about irrational things. You should definately find some help because it's not worth worrying about all this. Not all of what your describing can come from anxiety disorders. Yes some of it can, but that doesn't automatically mean you have it. Try to do some deep breathing, stop and tell yourself you're OK and you're having anxiety and that's ok. Try to visualize yourself in a comfortable place like the beach or your room or something. Listen to music, draw a picture, keep yourself busy so your mind won't wander. But definately seek out some professional help. Hope you feel better soon.

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anxiety, disorder, generalized

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