by Dovvy Phillips

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

July 11, 2023 | Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Types of anxiety

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Understanding Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD is the type of anxiety that's always there.  Like, it's always on!

My clients tell me it's like a switch that is constantly on. 

Always in a state of fear, worry or concern. Some people describe it as feeling like they are always on the edge of panic, the sense that something is wrong.

Common Symptoms

The symptoms vary from person to person. Some people experience GAD as anxiety that is focused more in their mind, such as:

  • Worrying
  • Always thinking about what could go wrong
  • Constantly focused on a negative 
  • Catastrophising
  • Stuck in thought loops

For others, Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be more of a physical experience:

  • Always feeling like they are on edge
  • Body buzzing
  • Constant scanning for physical tension
  • Experience of not feeling safe
  • Hypervigilant

And for many, it is the experience of BOTH physical and mental. Of course, this is not a complete list, just some of the most common ones that I see in my anxiety clinic on a daily basis.

What are some strategies for dealing with GAD?

I want to start this with a little story of a new client who came for help last week (of writing this) into our anxiety clinic. He told me that he had tried a few other approaches that had not helped him, mainly talk-based therapists. All of the psychologists he had seen told him that GAD - Generalised Anxiety Disorder, was the hardest type of anxiety to deal with, and explained that it was because there were no triggers to work with.

I found this comment interesting on many levels, mainly because GAD is one of my favourites to work with - because I find it so EASY to work with and we get amazing results!

The main difference in how we work is why helping people with GAD is easy for me and difficult for the psychologist.

The psychologist tries to work with the mental side of things, so they NEED triggers and thoughts to work with. But our approach is different as we work with the Nervous system, and also release tension out of the body. This has a huge impact on the mind.

If your brain thinks it's in fear mode - fight or flight - it will HIJACK your thinking and you will feel the effects of GAD! By simply releasing the tension that is bound in the Nervous system, the mental and physical symptoms subside.

Addressing Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Essentially, GAD is the accumulation of too much stress in the body/mind (Nervous system). Our approach addresses this and that's why we get such great results and why it’s easy for us to work with in our anxiety clinic.

Talk-therapy for GAD is a commonly used approach, but has very limited results - as stated why above.

Breathing techniques are also taught, but for GAD, only have a temporary effect, and not the best long term solution.

Medication is often given out too easily and has some side effects. From what I see in my anxiety clinic, medication does not really work that well and the person becomes dependant on these chemicals. Also, their system remains bound in the state and nothing was addressed.

So why is Medication, Talk Therapy and Breathing Techniques so commonly suggested as what you should do if you have Anxiety?

And why don't they help with resolving anxiety?

Lifestyle Modifications: Incorporating Healthy Habits for Management

Most peoeple try to change the way they live and hope that the Generalised Anxiety goes away. Some are lucky, most are not and find that by changing habits they might notice some shifts, but the problem is still there.

Common lifestyle changes are:

Stress reduction
Less coffee
More exercise
Less screen time - especially before bed

And I LOVE these, especially for making life better. But GAD is often a result of too much tension STUCK in the Nervous system. So, doing these things might be helpful at not adding more, but it never addresses the fact that the system is already at capacity. This needs to be addressed first

Think of a glass that is full or overflowing because it slowly got filled up, drip by drip, over time. It has no more space to take on any more. 

Now, even if we reduce how much is being added, the glass is still full.

The symptoms are caused because the cup is too full! This is why these techniques, although wonderful on many levels, often don’t help with GAD.

I have clients often tell me about all the things they have done to try and help their GAD, but end up feeling like they are failing. The reality is not that they are failing, it's that what they are trying to do is not effective.

If you want symptoms to go away then you need to address the problem - the glass is too full, the switch is on - let's turn it off.

This is our approach - not to manage anxiety, but to get rid of it!

Seeking Professional Help: Treatment Options

As mentioned above, there are the common options for help but with limited results. Talking won't address it effectively as it does not address the Nervous system. Breathing is only temporary and medication has it's side effects. Lifestyle changes also won't address the accumulation of stress which has led to the onset and cause of anxiety.

So, you need an approach that is best - and we define best here as getting results. I strongly suggest you find someone who can address the Nervous system through Network Spinal Analysis - do this alongside a Mindset retraining program and the results will be profound.

Good luck on your journey to overcoming anxiety.

You don’t have to learn to live with it!

About the author, Dovvy Phillips


I am the owner of Inspiring Wellness, a wellness and personal transformation clinic in Auckland CBD and the Author of “Wellness Words, How To Think, Speak, And Feel Great” and “How To Break Free From Anxiety”. I love helping my clients take back their lives, regain their health and get a whole new higher quality of life. If you are curious if we can help you, please contact us. We are here to help you.

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