At night, many office workers and students become anxious. When you wake up in the morning tomorrow, you feel the pressure of having to go to work. If you feel anxious for no reason or if the level of anxiety is excessive and you experience various symptoms both physically and mentally, it may be an anxiety disorder, not simply a reluctance to go to work. In particular, if you have trouble concentrating on your studies or work due to worry and anxiety, get tired easily, or suffer from insomnia for a long period of time, you may have generalized anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobia. Among them, generalized anxiety disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 5% of the total population. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition in which excessive anxiety and worry over trivial matters in daily life. Normal-category anxiety is a natural emotional response to survival, as a warning signal to prepare for a dangerous event. However, if you experience a lot of physical and mental pain in your daily life due to excessive anxiety and worry, and your quality of life is drastically reduced, you should suspect generalized anxiety disorder.
◆ Generalized Anxiety Disorder
How to differentiate between normal category of anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder? The biggest difference is the presence or absence of triggers. In other words, if you feel excessively anxious even in the absence of factors, situations, or events that may cause anxiety, you may suspect generalized anxiety disorder. It is also accompanied by physical symptoms.
Symptoms such as shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, or muscle stiffness due to anxiety that an accident might occur while walking for no reason. If these anxiety symptoms persist for more than 6 months and are unable to control the anxiety on their own and interfere with normal daily life, then a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder is made.
◆ Causes and treatment of generalized anxiety disorder
Professor Yun Ho-kyung of the Department of Psychiatry at Korea University Ansan Hospital said, “Generalized anxiety disorder can be caused by a variety of causes.” From a biological point of view, it is believed that generalized anxiety disorder is caused by abnormalities in the brain’s neurotransmitter system, particularly GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain. Psychoanalysis also regards anxiety as the manifestation of unresolved unconscious conflicts. From a cognitive-behavioral perspective, excessive preoccupation with negative events and distortion of the information processing process are seen as causes.
Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder can be divided into drug treatment and non-pharmacological treatment. Antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, etc.) are usually used for drug treatment. Anxiolytics (such as benzodiazepines) may be used for a short period of time. There are people who are reluctant to take drugs because of their preconceived notions about psychiatric drugs, and it is effective to prevent drug abuse and side effects and to treat diseases at an early stage when taking the drugs according to a doctor’s prescription. In addition to drug treatment, non-pharmacological treatments such as psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques can be combined.
Although it is a mental illness that is difficult to prevent, it can be helpful to prevent it by controlling and managing stress through psychological relaxation such as regular rest and hobbies. Professor Yun Ho-kyung said, “Some patients with anxiety disorders do not regard it as a disease and neglect it. This can lead to depression, alcohol dependence, drug abuse, etc., so be careful,” he said.
Reporter Kim Seong-eun firstname.lastname@example.org