Charlene is a 27 year old college graduate working in the nursing field. Having always been a highly motivated student it was no surprise that Charlene graduated from college with honors and, almost immediately, landed a job in her field of study. The hours were long and many would have felt the responsibility overwhelming. However, Charlene cherished her work. She excelled in patient care and was beloved by those she treated and respected by her colleagues and employers. At home, Charlene had relatively strong connections with her parents and siblings. She was in a long term dating relationship, was on track to purchase her first home. Everything seemed to be going according to plan.
Out of what seemed like nowhere, Charlene began experiencing bouts of lightheadedness and nausea. She had never been a good sleeper and even had experienced periods of insomnia since she was a child. Charlene’s problems falling asleep seemed to be worsening. Although Charlene was easily able to meet her financial obligations on her salary she began to be consumed with worries about her financial future. Did she have enough in savings? What if she defaulted on her student loans? These worries then snowballed into worries about the health or her dating relationship and the prospect that she was not moving fast enough toward marriage. As her self doubt began to grow Charlene started to question the effectiveness of her work. Was it possible that she wasn’t prepared for a career in Nursing? What if her colleagues were questioning her ability level? Every day became a struggle. Her appetite decreased and Charlene began to exercise obsessively just to have a distraction from her feelings of worry and fear.
The type of generalized worry experienced by Charlene is not uncommon in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Many of those who suffer from anxiety attempt to eliminate worry through eliminating uncertainty. They, subsequently, become overscheduled, rigid and inflexible. Despite their best efforts the incessant worry, preoccupation with performance and perfectionism continue.
According to the CDC Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin at any point in life. Many individuals diagnosed with GAD recall having experienced some excessive worry as early as childhood although they may or may not have ever been formally diagnosed or treated. Biology, familial influences and environmental factors all play a role in the development of GAD.
The Counselors at Thriveworks Henrico, VA can help! CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Mindfulness Approaches and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) have all shown to be effective treatment methods for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Call today to start on a path to more a meaningful, anxiety free life.