Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive or uncontrollable or irrational worry about routine activities, which is disproportionate to actual source of worry. When this goes to the extent of interfering with daily functioning of an individual, he could be suffering from a condition called GAD.
GAD affects millions of people around the world, with twice as many women as men.
Cause: Just as is the case with several mental health conditions, the cause of GAD is not fully understood. But, among the most common causes are genetics, environment, stress and brain chemicals.
Symptoms: Typical symptoms of GAD include, being easily started, difficulty in focusing, insomnia, fatigue, headache, muscle tension, difficulty in swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea or diarrhoea, breathlessness or rapid heartbeat.
Tackling GAD: In majority of cases, GAD improves with medications or psychotherapy. However, making necessary lifestyle modifications and learning some coping skills and relaxation techniques may also be of immense help in tackling mild anxiety disorders that does not require medical intervention.
Herbs: Certain supplements which could be used as alternative medication in improving conditions of GAD are:
Kava: The herb helps in relaxation, without actually feeling sedated. Few studies have however said that kava could lead to liver problems during prolonged use. Therefore, people with a liver condition may have to check with your physician before deciding on this.
Valerian: Is commonly used as a sleep aid, and has a sedative effect, and may relieve anxiety.
Ginseng: Although Ginseng is considered to be a multi-purpose herb, it is best used for anxiety, as it renders an overall relaxed feeling, reducing stress, and maintaining emotional balance. Therefore, it forms an excellent anti-anxiety herb.
Among the other herbs used in anxiety treatment are Ashwagandha, GLA, Lemon balm, Catnip, Zizyphi seed and illigustrum, GLA, Bugleweed and St. Johns Wort.
Lifestyle modifications: Exercise is a powerful and healthy method of reducing stress and improving mood. It is best to develop a regular exercise routine.
Follow a healthy diet and sleep pattern to keep stress and anxiety related problems at bay. Also avoid use of alcohol and sedatives, as they worsen anxiety.
Yoga, meditation and visualization techniques are simple relaxation methods to ease anxiety.
Certain yoga poses, particularly the childs pose (Balasana) described below can calm anxiety.
- Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels. Separate your knees as wide as your hips.
- Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points towards the navel, in a manner so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while also lifting the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
- Lay your hands on the floor, palms facing up, and release fronts of your shoulders towards the floor. Feel the weight of the front shoulders pulling the shoulder blades wide across your back.
- Balasana is basically a resting pose. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to few minutes.
Few other yoga poses recommended for GAD are Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Cow Pose (Bitilasana), Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Banda Sarvangasana), Cat pose (Marjaryasana) Easy Pose (Sukhasana), Half moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana) and more.