Understanding generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a prevalent mental health condition characterised by persistent and excessive worry or fear about everyday situations. 


What is GAD?

Individuals with GAD often experience uncontrollable anxiety and find it challenging to relax, even when there is little or no reason for concern. This chronic worry can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life.

Symptoms of GAD

People with GAD may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Excessive worry and anxiety about various aspects of life, such as work, health, family, or finances.
  • Difficulty controlling worry, even when realising that it is excessive or unreasonable.
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge.
  • Muscle tension, fatigue, and irritability.
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
  • Sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

The impact of GAD

Living with GAD can be challenging and overwhelming. The constant worry and anxiety can interfere with daily activities, relationships, and overall well-being. Individuals with GAD may struggle to concentrate at work or school, have difficulty making decisions, and experience physical health problems due to stress. The persistent nature of GAD can lead to feelings of hopelessness and frustration, affecting one's quality of life.

Seeking professional support

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of GAD, it is essential to seek professional support. A mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Treatment for GAD may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

How counselling can help

Counselling is an effective treatment option for GAD, providing individuals with the tools and support they need to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Here are some ways in which counselling can help individuals with GAD:

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach for GAD. It helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to anxiety. By learning to recognise and reframe irrational thoughts, individuals can reduce anxiety and improve coping skills.

Mindfulness-based therapies

Mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), teach individuals to cultivate present-moment awareness and acceptance. These techniques can help individuals reduce anxiety and increase resilience in the face of stress.

Relaxation techniques

Counselling can teach individuals relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery, to help reduce physical symptoms of anxiety and promote relaxation.

Stress management skills

Counselling can provide individuals with practical strategies for managing stress and coping with life's challenges more effectively. This may include time management skills, assertiveness training, or problem-solving techniques.

Support and validation

Counselling offers a safe and supportive space for individuals to explore their thoughts and feelings about anxiety. A counsellor can provide validation, empathy, and encouragement, helping individuals feel understood and supported in their journey towards recovery.

In conclusion, generalised anxiety disorder can have a significant impact on one's life, but with the right support and treatment, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Counselling provides a valuable opportunity for individuals with GAD to explore their concerns, learn coping skills, and work towards a brighter future. If you or someone you know is struggling with GAD, don't hesitate to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Windsor SL4 & Newbury RG14
Written by Hope Therapy & Counselling Services
Windsor SL4 & Newbury RG14

Hope Therapy & Counselling Services are dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate mental health and wellbeing support to individuals, couples, and families. Our team of experienced and qualified counsellors & therapists are committed to helping clients navigate life's challenges and achieve personal growth and well-being.

Show comments

Find a therapist dealing with Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals