When worry becomes a problem

Relationship-Counseling-TribecaFeeling afraid about life issues is common as you age, but if it takes over your life, you may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Everyone feels afraid or worried at times, but if these feelings begin to take over your life, then you may have crossed over into generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

“The issue with many older men is they often just endure the discomfort of GAD, or think it’s normal, and do not talk about the problem,” says Dr. David Mischoulon, director of the Depression Clinical and Research Program at -Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “However, left alone to manifest, GAD may lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, depression, and addictive behavior like excessive drinking.”

GAD symptoms
GAD is defined as feeling anxious, fearful, or worried about multiple unrelated events or activities every day for at least six months. People with GAD constantly anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about issues like health, money, and family, even when there is no apparent reason for concern.

GAD tends to run in families and may be something you have always dealt with, but it also can be triggered by sudden changes, says Dr. Mischoulon. For instance, the death of a spouse or friend may make you feel vulnerable about being alone. To read more from Harvard Health, click here.

Carolyn Ehrlich LCSW, CGP and I specializes in Relationship Counseling Tribeca