Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The clinicians at Mindcare Centre are well equipped to assess and manage Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) using best practice, evidence-based psychological or pharmacological strategies or a combination of the two strategies if needed.

So what is GAD?

GAD is an anxiety disorder characterised by excessive anxiety and worry. Typically people with GAD describe themselves as being lifelong worriers as do their friends and family members, although excessive worry can develop at any point in the lifespan.

In GAD people tend to worry about a wide (generalised) range of everyday life issues such as the health and safety of themselves and family members, their finances, their work, household chores or other personal responsibilities. The intensity, duration or frequency of the anxiety or worry is significantly out of proportion to the actual likelihood of the feared event actually happening. It is also often out of proportion to the likely impact of the feared event. In other words people with GAD tend to overestimate the probability of negative events occurring and overestimate the likely impact of the event if it were to occur.

For example a person with GAD may worry excessively about taking on new debts despite good evidence regarding their ability to service those debts. Or they may worry excessively about potential job loss or serious health problems in a loved one or the break-up of their relationship even when there is little or no objective evidence to suggest that these events are likely to occur.

How common is GAD?

GAD affects about 5% of the population (one person in twenty) at some point in the lifespan. Women are slightly more likely to be affected than men. About half the people who suffer from GAD report that they have felt worried and anxious for as long as they can remember. However it is not uncommon for people to report a first onset of worries after 20 years of age. In the absence of treatment GAD follows a fluctuating course often worsening during times of stress and usually persisting to some degree across the lifespan.

What treatments are available for GAD?

The first-line treatment for GAD is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a structured, time-limited therapy which will target the underlying thought and behavioural patterns that underlie GAD. CBT aims to equip you with skills that will enable you to respond more helpfully to worry and allow you to deal more adaptively with uncertainty in everyday life. For some individuals a combination of therapy and medication may be beneficial.

Where to get help for GAD?

Call our helpful staff at Mindcare Centre on (02) 9212 4445 or email us to book an appointment with one of Mindcare Centre’s GAD specialists. Mindcare Centre offers both clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. Collectively the clinicians at Mindcare Centre are able to deal with all levels of severity of GAD, from mild to moderate presentations that are likely to respond effectively to psychological treatment alone through to more complex and severe presentations that may benefit from the addition of medication treatments. An appropriate referral from your GP will enable you to claim a Medicare rebate. Health fund rebates may also be available for clinical psychology appointments but not for psychiatrist appointments.

Where to find more information and support for GAD

An excellent educational internet resource is “What? Me Worry!?!” at the Centre for Clinical Interventions.

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