Generalized anxiety disorder is a natural response to an unreal danger . In psychotherapy we discover what is perceived as threatening.
Anxiety or fear
It is interesting that in the German language, the translation of anxiety is fear. It can be seen that many times the two terms are used indiscriminately. Despite this, there are differences:
Fear is one of the oldest and most basic emotions. We have all been afraid at some point.
Te be afraid warns us of a danger and is intended to save our lives.
Anxiety is a similar warning to fear. The background is usually the feeling of a threat.
When fear warns us of a danger outside, the cause of anxiety can be ourselves.
Anxiety might signal us needs that are not met.
An example is the anxiety that arises if we continually exceed our limits and are not respecting our need for rest.
The body’s reaction to fear and anxiety is stress with these typical symptoms:
- acceleration of breathing and heart beat
- difficulty to focus
- empty head or blank
- avoidance behavior
- feeling weak or tired
- gastrointestinal or skin problems
The self perpetuation spiral of anxiety and avoidance
The physical reactions of anxiety are described above all as unpleasant. As such, they become a problem if they occur frequently. It is becoming increasingly difficult to cope with the demands of everyday life. It becomes more and more difficult to pay the required attention to day-to-day tasks such as work. The person withdraws more and more from life and the symptoms of anxiety become more and more pronounced.
Then comes fear of anxiety, which we want to escape. We try to avoid it as possible.
There is a spiral of anxiety and fear of anxiety and avoidance that reproduces itself.
A vicious circle of worries, feelings of fear, and physical stress reactions arise.
Causes of generalized anxiety ?
In generalized anxiety disorder, the patient experiences a threat that does not have a specific trigger, as in phobias. Our experience in the treatment of anxiety shows us that the causes are different in each case.
Causes of anxiety that we usually find are, on the one hand, personal needs that continue to be unmet. Or, on the other hand, the existence of traumatic situations without elaboration. Please read the related article about trauma.
In the generalized anxiety disorder patients usually cannot tell the reason for their anxiety. However, they all have one constant concern in common.
A characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder is a constant feeling of worry and tension. Chains of worried thoughts are called rumination. They are self repeating sequences of thoughts that normally develop automatically and unconsciously. Its content is negative. They are variants of discussions with people or catastrophic fantasies about the future. Rumination even can trigger or maintain depression.
If you find yourself in repeated worries, please consult with a professional urgently.
About our treatment
At Anímate Psychology, we not only help you avoid avoidance but also help dealing with anxiety as a symptom. For a lasting effect of the treatment, we look for anxiety triggers in perception.
Our work and techniques work on 3 levels.
We work at the mental level with thoughts that trigger anxiety.
Emotion is learned to manage with breathing techniques and relaxation methods to deal with physical symptoms.
We also invite you to read the related article on psychotherapy.