It should be borne in mind that often in our life there are good reasons to be worried, so the first differentiation concerns identifying whether we feel a so-called “healthy”, normal anxiety, or if it is a significant form of anxiety from a clinical point of view (considering precisely that the fundamental characteristic of this disorder is being worried or anxious for a wide spectrum of stimuli, situations, events and not for a single specific object or situation).
Anxiety is a normal emotion that every healthy person experiences.
It has the function of signaling dangerous or unpleasant situations, thus allowing us to face them using the most appropriate mental and physical resources (for example, if we are crossing the road and a car comes against us and we evaluate that it is not slowing down, we feel fear and run to protect us and not to have a bad end).
Compared to normal concerns, those that characterize generalized anxiety disorder are:
- more numerous, frequent, lasting, intense, invasive and pervasive;
- of rapid succession (one immediately follows, or almost, another);
- accompanied by emotions of intense anxiety;
- relating to unlikely future events;
- disconnected from precipitating factors;
- accompanied by physical symptoms;
- difficult to control and postpone to other times.
In essence, the anxiety of those suffering
From this disorder tends to be excessive, pervasive, not very controllable and greatly interferes with the normal functioning of the person.
Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that this disorder has anxious symptoms (eg muscle tension, restlessness, irritability) that must be distinguished from other disorders that have the same type of symptoms.
For example, some of them could be the manifestation
A general medical condition (eg hyperthyroidism) or be due to the use of some psychoactive substances (eg caffeine, drugs such as sedatives, hypnotics or anxiolytics).
If, for example, the person’s concern relates exclusively to the possibility that a panic attack may occur, it is Panic Disorder and not Generalized Anxiety Disorder; and again, if the concern only concerns the possibility of feeling embarrassed in public.
It is Social Phobia; if the concern is exclusively about having a serious illness, it is Hypochondria; if the concern is related only to the weight and shape of the body or to gain weight it is an Eating Disorder; worrying primarily about being contaminated is typical of obsessive compulsive disorder finally, if you are strictly concerned about reliving a traumatic event, it is a post-traumatic stress disorder.