Becoming parents and getting older can bring on a fair amount of stress and anxiety. Some anxiety is normal.  Everyone experiences anxiety on a daily basis on some level. Just managing the household finances, the laundry, feeding the kids, juggling work and family life....  the things that all parents deal with.... can bring on a significant amount of stress.  But, how do you know if it's "normal" anxiety or if there is a clinical problem?  

Everyone worries at times and that is normal.  Continuous, chronic worry is not normal.  People with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) worry excessively and constantly.  People with GAD are not able to table their worries until later so they can focus on their work or other daily living skills.  It seems that they are anxious all the time and there isn't necessary a specific topic, but they are just anxious about everything to the point where they can't think about anything else.  It's hard to have fun when you  are constantly worrying.  It's hard to sleep when you are constantly worrying.   As a result, people who experieince this clinical anxiety disorder often become irritable, isolated and unhappy.

 Some symptoms that may be associated with GAD are headaches, trembling, twitching, difficulty concentrating, sweating, lump in the throat and difficulty swallowing, sleeplessness, fatigue, exaggerated startle reflex, grouchiness (short fuse), lack of patience,  lightheadedness, tingling in the extremities, and other troublesome symptoms.  

No one is sure exactly what causes anxiety, but there are a few theories.  It is likely that Generalized Anxiety Disorder is created by a combination of physiological and psychological issues.

-Genetic factors could contribute to anxiety.  If your parent were anxious, it is possible that you could have inherited this trait.  Sometimes, anxiety is evident in childhood and adolescence, but often, anxiety doesn't present itself as a problem until adulthood.  

-Trauma can create anxiety.  Traumatic experiences can literally change the way your brain works.  A major stressful event can trigger Generalized Anxiety Disorder. 

- Unresolved internal issues can create Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  

The good news is that folks don't have to suffer with debilitating anxiety today.  Effective treatment is available in the form of meditation and yoga, relaxation techniuqes, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and in extreme cases, medication.  If you are wondering if you are having symptoms of an anxiety disorder, or if you are having troubling symptoms of any kind, talk to a health care provider to explore ways to help yourself.

Author's Bio: 

Stacey Brown is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in individual, couples and family psychotherapy, and maintains a private practice in Fort Myers, Florida.

With more than 15 years of experience as a clinician, and a graduate of the University of South Florida specializing in Solution Focused and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, she is currently serving as a private practitioner working with a broad spectrum of clients. Among her areas of expertise are: ADHD, depression and anxiety for both children and adults, grief and loss, and relationship issues.
In addition, Stacey Brown has presented at conferences and to general audiences on topics ranging from parenting, wellness, educational accommodations, teacher training, behavior management and mental health topics.

Stacey Brown is a practical, interactive, solution-focused therapist. Her treatment approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients resolve current problems and long-standing patterns. She incorporates a blend of conventional and alternatives approaches, drawing upon a variety of styles and techniques to incorporate what will be most helpful for each client. With sensitivity and compassion, she works with each client to help them build on their strengths to identify and achieve life goals.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Nationally Certified Counselor
Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist
Certified Anger Resolution Therapist
Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress
State Approved Clinical Supervisor
40 Barkley Circle, Suite 3
Ft. Myers, FL 33907