anxiety, sadness and depression

Individual counseling with adults struggling with anxiety and depression is a mainstay of our practice and accounts for approximately a quarter of our work in a given week. Most adults we see individually are struggling with some form of anxiety or depression resulting from a change in life whether at work, in physical health, or in the family.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

The Worrier  - Be Vigilant!

Core Diagnostic Criteria

  • Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance, finances, relationships, children).
  • The person finds the worry difficult to control.
  • The anxiety and worry are associated with three or more of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months).
  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)

Map to the GAD Worldview

View of Self:  I am responsible to see trouble coming so I can avoid chaos or hurt, including hurt or hardship to those I love.

View of Others: They are either vulnerable and need my help, or are potentially unpredictable or hurtful.

View of Life: Life can be precarious, even dangerous. Things can easily go out of control.

Self Directives: Therefore, I must think ahead and see problems before they arise. I’m responsible. I must be good and controlled, keeping myself disciplined to be alert for problems. Resting and trusting that I can take life as it comes might be irresponsible. Don’t do it.

Distress manifests as: worry, trouble initiating sleep or maintaining sleep, orienting toward things unsettled, fatigue, in high stress one has trouble with concentration. Elusive happiness. Feeling alone with emotional burdens.

All Anxiety Posts
Man with depression and anxiety

How does Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) develop?

We who are generally anxious often have developed a posture of alertness, even vigilance for what might become, or already is, out of control. One thing we cannot fully control is what others think of us, so many of us turn our efforts toward controlling self. If religious, or scrupulous without a religious background, this […]

Sad girl with anxiety

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder – GAD

Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder include: Counseling for self or relationship to help cultivate trust, rest, and safety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder – GAD: Cognitive: Identify basic beliefs and conditioning undergirding the impulse to worry. It’s helpful to explore your personal story to discover beliefs/thoughts related to distress.Thought logs and some techniques […]

John Petersen Coronavirus Anxiety in Children

Aftershocks of COVID crisis lead to dramatic spike in anxiety, depression in kids

Adolescents showing increased anxiety. Family Psychology was happy to contribute to this local reporting by Lindsay Stone.