CBT for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by excessive worrying and feelings of anxiety that cause significant distress and/or interfere with daily life. 

What are the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms include:

  • Frequent worrying about a wide range of issues
  • Overthinking 
  • Catastrophizing (often believing the worst-case scenario will occur) 
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Difficulty tolerating uncertainty
  • Physiological symptoms (nausea, excessive sweating, light-headedness)

When is it time to get help?

We all worry and experience feelings of anxiety at times. However, when the worry becomes frequent and excessive and leads to high levels of anxiety, treatment is indicated. You also may wish to seek treatment if your anxiety is hampering your daily activities, your relationships, or your ability to function at school or work.

How CBT can help treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the psychological treatment of choice for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. CBT for Generalized Anxiety Disorder can include a vast array of evidence-based interventions. These strategies may include: 

  • Psychoeducation about the factors that contribute to the onset and persistence of excessive worrying.
  • Cognitive Restructuring to identify and reframe distorted anxious-related thoughts. 
  • Changing Unhealthy Worry-Driven Behaviours (such as extreme avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations, or stopping excessive reassurance seeking or excessive rumination).
  • Exposure to feared worst-case scenario thoughts. This helps to facilitate desensitization to such thoughts and it helps individuals learn to better tolerate uncertainty. Exposure also may help people feel more confident that they could handle a feared scenario, if it were to occur.
  • Mindfulness training involves repeatedly bringing one’s attention to the present moment. Worriers tend to spend more time overthinking the past or future rather than focusing on the present. Through mindfulness training, individuals are trained to let go of things that are out of their control and live in the moment.

How can the team at Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy help?

At Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy, we have psychologists with extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults learn to stop worrying excessively and to live a less stressful and more enjoyable life. If you have symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and are interested in receiving evidence-based treatment, please contact us at: 905-338-1397.

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