Doesn’t everybody worry every day?

Daily life routines and demands will cause anxiety from time to time. Worry how the important work presentation will go, worry about your parents’ or pets’ health or worry about being stuck in jam if it rains after work. However, there are people who worry just too much. This is called generalised anxiety disorder.

So, when should you worry about worrying?

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is defined as feelings of excessive anxiety and worry. So, the person with GAD feels super “kan-cheong” almost all the time, every single day. The worrying can be about as small matter as what to wear for work tomorrow. These excessive and perpetual worrying and anxiety are difficult to control. Eventually it affects the person’s daily functioning.

Generalised anxiety disorder may manifest as other symptoms besides worrying and anxiety. Some may overthink on plans and usually focus on worst-case consequences. Some find it hard to make decision because it will come with unwarranted fear on making the wrong decision. People with this condition may also find it hard to relax and always feeling restless. Concentration and focus may also be reduced.

Then, I can go see a doctor because I am worried?

Interestingly, the patients I have encountered with generalised anxiety disorder rarely come complaining of feeling  anxious or worry. Patients with GAD usually present with physical complaints. The common complaints among people with GAD are tiredness, difficulty in sleeping, body aches, palpitations and even nausea and stomach ache. These patients may have gone through a series of tests and procedures which render negative results.

As an example, I met a gentleman in his mid-thirties with complain of palpitations or feeling his heart pounding very fast. He was thoroughly investigated for heart disease at a hospital. Nothing was found to be wrong with his heart. He was then started with a medication that will slow down his heart rate, which he eventually stopped himself. When I met him and went through his story, I diagnosed him with GAD. The heart pounding feelings that he has been experiencing is actually a manifestation of his excessive worrying. Alongside psychologist treatment, he is now doing better physically and mentally.

So, if reading this article cause you to worry about yourself or maybe someone close to you, do make an appointment to see a doctor or a psychologist. There is proven treatment and help available to control the symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder, don’t worry (pun intended).