Generalised Anxiety – What is it and how do we treat it?

There are a few different kinds of anxiety that someone might experience. So what is generalised anxiety? And if you have it, how do you treat it? Check out the interview with Clinical Psychologist’s, Dr Danielle McCarthy and Amber Rattray for answers.

Danielle McCarthy:  First off, tell us what is Generalised Anxiety?

Amber Rattray:  Generalised anxiety really is about worry. We all worry sometimes when we’ve got specific events coming up – an exam, speech, a Facetime live to name a few. But generalised anxiety is really about excessive worry – worry that’s out of control, worry that’s persistent, where we get a bit stuck, and it goes round and round.

Danielle:  Okay. So I’ve identified that I’ve got generalised anxiety and that it’s impacting on my life, what now?

Amber:  First and foremost, it’s looking at attention training or mindfulness strategies to learn how to let it go, then we look at the avoidance. So when we’re worried about a lot of things for a long period of time, we tend to avoid those things. So basically, it’s coming up with a bit of a hierarchy of the least to most anxiety provoking situations and working our way through those things.

Danielle: What are 3 negatives that might happen if I don’t get treatment if I’ve got generalised anxiety?

Amber:  1. You may develop another mood disorder such as depression; 2. There are various unhelpful coping strategies that people sometimes use to manage generalised anxiety – e.g., drinking alcohol, excessive exercise and eating, smoking cannabis to help with sleep; 3. Relationships can be impacted. People can feel misunderstood or frustrated in relationships, or your the partner may take on a reassurance giving role.

Danielle:  So it could lead to further mood issues like depression, or it could lead to maladaptive coping strategies like drinking, gambling, or binge eating, or other unhelpful strategies. And thirdly, it could even have an impact on your relationship. On the flip side, if we do go and get treatment and treatment is successful, what are 3 potential positives that could occur?

Amber:  1. The obvious is that we will experience less anxiety and worry; 2. Our mood will improve and we will likely be more happy generally; 3. Our relationships may improve as worry isn’t interfering with us connecting with others.