Have you ever known a worry wart? This person worries about everything and anything, and the fretting never seems to stop. This person spends so much time worrying that they exhaust themselves and miss out on countless opportunities in life.
More than likely, a chronic worrier has generalized anxiety disorder. With this condition, a person is preoccupied with worrying – so much so that they are almost paralyzed or stuck in their thoughts.
Oftentimes, a person with generalized anxiety disorder worries about things that do not even exist. For example, they may see a small mole and start worrying that it is melanoma. Without getting it checked, they then start imagining that the non-existent cancer has spread through their body.
Next they are worrying about what will happen to their children when they die an untimely death of this non-existent cancer. This scenario may play out in the worrier’s head in a matter of seconds, but it is very real. And from that time on, they may spend weeks worrying about this very thing.
Generalized anxiety disorder, left untreated, is a significant problem for its victims. Below are some of the debilitating effects of this condition.
* Preoccupation with fear and worries
People with this disorder live in a constant state of fear. Their worrying leads to all kinds of unfounded conclusions in their heads, and they are often fearful to discuss what is on their minds.
The problem is that a person who worries a lot often does not tell another person or doctor what is happening. They fear they will be considered odd or crazy.
What they need to do is to talk about it so they can get some help for this common but terrible state of anxiety. Unfortunately, that is often not what they choose to do.
* Lack of connectedness in relationships
By staying in a state of worry and fear, a person with generalized anxiety disorder is often not present in mind and spirit. When they engage in conversations, they may not really hear what is being said to them. They often appear to be in their own little world.
As a result, their relationships greatly suffer. It’s hard to feel connected to someone whose mind is somewhere else. People will lose patience with these people as they do not seem to really be all there.
* Increased risk of accidents
When someone is in a place of fear and worry, they may be prone to more accidents such as car wrecks. The reason is that their minds are not on the roads but on their problems and anxieties. This lack of focus can be dangerous when they are driving or riding a bike.
When generalized anxiety disorder is really bad, people will often start isolating. Their fear of the world and the people in it is so great that they would rather avoid things.
They stop engaging in the normal routines of life because they come up with all kinds of things that could go wrong. Such isolation sadly only gives them more time to worry, which exacerbates their situation.
* Potential substance abuse
When someone is stuck with never-ending negative thoughts and countless worries, they often turn to alcohol or drugs in an effort to self-medicate. They find that drinking liquor, for example, calms their thoughts and numbs them to those constant inner voices.
Since alcohol may have that effect on their minds temporarily, chronic worriers often turn to it more than what is healthy. They often become substance abusers, not realizing that alcohol and drugs will actually increase their anxiety.
As you can surmise, generalized anxiety disorder is hugely debilitating for its sufferers. If you think that you may battle with this disorder, or if you know someone who does, seek professional help. Your quality of life can improve greatly if you get the help you deserve and need.