Generalized anxiety disorder versus PTSD

What’s the difference between PTSD and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)? Find out here.

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety is diagnosed for someone who experiences excessive anxiety and worry for a period of at least 6 months. Usually the overly concern person is focused on events or activities and has little control over the worry. Restlessness, difficult in concentrating, easily fatigued, and irritability are frequent complaints, while sleep may be disrupted and muscle tension is common.

The anxiousness is typically about everyday routine life circumstances, finances, health issues of self or others, or simple things like car repairs. The worry seems to switch from one event to another. Frequently generalized anxiety disorder will co-occur with substance related disorder from alcohol and/or sedative use.

I worked with a client who experienced Generalized Anxiety Disorder recently who was stuck in the obsessive behavior and struggled to function. Those around her expressed their frustration and concern, but felt like they just couldn’t go on, even with their daily life, without her getting help. Her situation seemed to stem from past trauma that was driving the anxiety. She initially didn’t connect the previous unresolved trauma with current life issues, but clearly, the connection was there. Once dealt with and resolved she was able to function normal again.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD is the result of being exposed to a traumatic event, involved in an actual or threatened death or serious injury to self or others. It is common to have recurrent and intrusive distressing recollection of events, images, thoughts or perceptions. Veterans have a high rate of PTSD. It is estimated by the Vets that approximately 9 % of those battle soldiers will suffer from PTSD. Other groups who suffer from PTSD are firemen, policemen, and sexually or physically abused men and women.

I once had a client who was involved in a serious car wreck, in which his finance was gravely injured, and the driver of the other car was killed. It was determined that he was at fault. He was the only one who walked away unharmed. He was haunted with the recurring images and dreams of the accident, and of the young children on the scene who were wailing because their mother wasn’t responding. His sleep was disrupted and probably averaged 2 – 3 hours of sleep per night. The guilt of his negligence preoccupied his life. He became depressed and struggled to come to counseling or attend work.

Once he was able to deal with the event in counseling, he was able to move on and forgive himself and ask forgiveness of the surviving family members. In about 3 months he was able to move on and restore his life. He like so many others felt he didn’t need help and didn’t want to spend the money for counseling. He suffered for almost two months before he got help.

Prescription Drugs, Illegal Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

Neither one of these disorders are something to ignore. Both occupy hours of one’s life and coping mechanisms usually kick in and this is where prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol become the front line answer for unresolved anxiety. If you are struggling from PTSD or Generalized Anxiety please don’t avoid; seek help now at a outpatient facility near you.

About the author
Dr. Jackson received his Doctorate in Christian Counseling from Omega Bible Institute and Seminary in 2009. He developed the Christian recovery treatment programs for Calvary Rehab Center and the Genesis Center for Recovery. He has trained and practiced Christian Counseling in all areas of drug/alcohol/gambling/sex and relationship addictions. He currently has his own web based online program called 12 Day Rehab Systems, designed for those who can work on recovery while maintaining career and family obligations. Dr. Jackson has been clean and sober since 1984. Learn more about Recovery with Dr. Steve.
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