Against a brick wall background, two hands are holding up a sign with an angry face on it.

Anger and Anxiety: A GAD-Awful Combo

For those of you who deal with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), your lives are likely filled with persistent, excessive worry.

Each day, you’ll end up spending time dealing with a number of worries, and they don’t even have to relate to one another. They can range from an excessive focus on keeping up with financial needs to constantly planning schedules around any and all what-if scenarios.

But you might feel like you should hold on to that anxiety. And you’re not the only person with GAD to think that! Many with GAD believe that their worrying helps them avoid negative consequences, so they don’t actually want to get rid of their condition. After all, doesn’t anxiety push you to plan and do things as effectively as possible?

While it can, GAD does have its own dark side: irritation. This feeling is not a healthy one, often leading to intense anger. So here’s why you might want to consider at least minimizing the hold that GAD has on you.

Irritability is a main diagnostic factor for GAD.

When professionals look to diagnose people with GAD, one of the main factors they look for is irritation. And as many know, this feeling can be considered a mild form of anger or frustration.

While most anxiety disorders are likely to cause irritability, GAD is the only one that lists it as a defining part of its criteria.

To find out why, let’s learn a little bit more about GAD and how it connects to anger.

What is GAD?

GAD is an anxiety disorder characterized by a tenaciously exorbitant worry over any number of issues. As the word generalized in the name of this disorder shows, people with GAD don’t have a specific set of worries. Instead, they just remain worried about almost anything and everything throughout the day.

What connects it to anger?

The worry-induced anxiety that comes from GAD often feels impossible to control, and it can lead to feeling trapped and frustrated. The worry never truly seems to go away, but that natural, anxious fight-or-flight response demands you do something to get rid of it all. And if you can’t seem to flee, your brain will feel the need to fight.

In fact, according to the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy journal, this fight response is particularly strong in those who have GAD. Looking more into the details of the study, the website ScienceDaily notes that among 381 participants, 131 of those with GAD expressed high levels of trait anger and internalized anger. The study’s revelation seems to indicate that heightened levels of anger — and in particular, internalized anger expression — might be a strong predictor for those who will have or who already have GAD.

But that factor needs more research.

Sadly, one of the main researchers reported to ScienceDaily that more research is needed to determine what connects GAD to anger. For now, the exact connection between GAD and anger remains unknown.

What can you do about anger and GAD?

Feeling constant worry, irritation, and anger isn’t good for your well-being. It creates a mentally miserable environment that leads you to thinking and feeling the worst. It can disrupt your life, give you chronic physical pain, and lead to other poor health conditions.

So, while GAD might help you schedule plans and avoid potential disasters, the negative emotions surrounding the condition, when left unchecked, can cause a number of problems.

But you can manage GAD. You just need the right tools.

Seek therapy.

One of the best tools to help you manage GAD is therapy. With therapy, you can learn techniques to help you change how you think about things and how you adapt to situations. It can offer you effective ways of coping with anxiety and all the stress that it brings.

There are a number of effective therapies for you to try:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you address negative thinking patterns and distortions.
  • Mindfulness meditation teaches you to sit comfortably, relax on your own, and think in the present instead of worrying about future problems.
  • Biofeedback allows you to see how your body responds to certain stimuli and what you can do about it.

For more information on GAD-related therapy, talk to your doctor. They’ll have a better idea of what treatments are available near you and what might help you best.

Consider pharmaceutical assistance.

In addition to therapy, your doctor may also suggest you take prescription drugs. For instance, they might offer you sertraline. Taking medication like sertraline alongside therapy is a common treatment, and it could help you further reduce your GAD symptoms.

You might think it’s a bit costly, though, and you’d be right. In America, prescription drugs are quite expensive. Adding therapy into the mix only makes that cost higher.

But there is a way to reduce how much you pay for prescription drugs! Simply look for an authentic international or Canada pharmacy referral service like Canada Med Pharmacy, and order your medication from there. You’ll be able to order from licensed pharmacies outside of the United States where prescription prices are regulated more strictly, allowing you to purchase your medication at a more affordable rate.

Most importantly, don’t bottle up your feelings.

You might think it’s easier to minimize GAD’s impact on your life just by bottling up how you feel. But you’d be wrong. While hiding how you feel will prevent people from noticing your GAD symptoms right away, it can actually exacerbate your feelings. Feelings do need to be expressed eventually, and hiding yours will only make it easier for negative emotions to get the better of you when you least want them to, causing potentially ugly outbursts. And it can even lead to other negative consequences, such as poor social support, reduced closeness with others, and social dissatisfaction.

You’re better off acknowledging that you do, in fact, have these feelings and that you need to do something about them. So give therapy, medication, or both treatments a try, and stay in touch with those closest to you. It will remind you that you’re not alone in trying to deal with GAD and that there are people out there who care about how you feel.