Worrisome worries

January 14, 2014

RRR 4 - Worry - JANRenew. Rebuild. Recover. A blog by West Michigan Community Mental Health. 

Worrying is a normal activity that we all do at times. However, severe worrying may be associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In a Johns Hopkins Health Alert, Karen Swartz, MD, states that the average healthy person spends about an hour a day worrying. A person with GAD spends, on average, about five hours a day worrying. This frequency factor is key difference between normal worry and GAD.

Swartz notes these other differences between normal worrying and severe worrying that may be associated with GAD:

• Interference with daily life. Normal worrying does not interfere with your work or social life, whereas severe worrying may significantly interfere with daily life. It may feel like your worries are taking over your life.

• Level of distress. Normal worries cause only mild distress, whereas severe worries cause great distress and are hard to dispel.

• Causes or triggers for worrying. Normal worry is usually tied to a specific cause and usually limited to one or a few topics. Severe worrying may begin for no reason, and you may worry about a broad range of topics.

• Duration. Normal worrying, even significant worrying, usually lasts only for a brief period.

Severe worrying may extend for six months or more.

• Accompanying symptoms. Normal worrying usually is not associated with other symptoms.

Severe worrying may be accompanied by sleep disturbances, irritable mood, problems with concentration, muscle tension, fatigue, or inability to relax.

If you are worried about your worrying, help is available. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Renew. Rebuild. Recover is brought to you by West Michigan Community Mental Health. All images are for illustrative purposes only and any person depicted is a model.

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