Understand The Difference Between Worry & Generalised Anxiety Disorder

September 27, 2022

Do you find yourself waking up in the morning, worried about the day ahead? Are you always worried about what your manager will say once you reach work, what the month’s expenses might be, your parents’ health, etc? If you find yourself constantly worried about something, without any reason or triggers in particular, you may have ‘Generalised Anxiety Disorder’ (GAD). 


So, What’s The Difference? 

In GAD, you may find yourself in a constant state of worry, fear, and dread that doesn’t just go away, no matter what. While being nervous or worried from time to time is normal, excessive, ongoing and persistent anxiety that interferes with day-to-day functioning is GAD. People with GAD may feel extremely nervous or worried about things when there’s little or nothing much to worry about. They may experience this for months or years at a stretch just out of the ‘blues’. This disorder usually develops in adulthood but can develop in childhood as well. 


The Symptoms Of Generalised Anxiety Disorder

GAD can develop with other mood or anxiety disorders and at times, the symptoms may also seem similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety, but it is important to understand that they’re all different conditions. While the symptoms may vary from person to person, some of the common ones include:


  • Persistent worrying or anxiety about a number of areas that are out of proportion to the impact of actual  events
  • Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes
  • Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty
  • Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
  • Inability to set aside or let go of a worry
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating, or the feeling that your mind “goes blank”

Some of the physical symptoms are as follows:


  • Feeling tired and fatigued all the time
  • Having trouble falling asleep and poor sleep quality 
  • Twitching and trembling
  • Getting startled easily
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Dry mouth


Managing With Generalised Anxiety Disorder

The good news is that GAD is manageable and treatable. Talking to a healthcare provider is one of the first and foremost steps that one can take. Many-a-times, the healthcare provider may run some tests and do a physical examination to check if your condition is not caused by physical health issues. You may also be referred to a psychiatrist for a thorough diagnosis. Generally, GAD is managed with psychotherapy and/or medication. Your psychiatrist will suggest the best course of action for you. Some other ways to manage GAD include the following lifestyle changes: 


  • Sign up for support groups: Sharing your problems and achievements with others helps with gaining perspective in life, and towards your condition. While this does not replace treatment and therapy, it most definitely makes you realise that you aren’t alone and that your condition is manageable. 
  • Work on your sleep routine: Get enough sleep and use tools and techniques to do so. You can listen to playlists that help you with falling asleep, such as the ones on our app. Make sure that your phone is on silent mode and try to get into a meditative state to fall asleep.
  • Eat healthy: Ensure that you include fruits, vegetables, whole grains in your diet as research shows that gut health is also linked to mental health. Stay hydrated, eat less oily/spicy food, consume proper proportion of proteins and carbohydrates, consulting with a dietitian or nutritionist if need be.
  • Avoid caffeine, drugs and tobacco: Cut down on your caffeine consumption, quit smoking and avoid any form of recreational drugs as they rewire your brain. All these substances worsen anxiety. 
  • Use relaxation techniques: Visualisation techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety. You can check out some of these in the ‘Wellness’ section of the heyy app. 


Reaching out


Make sure you stick to your treatment plan, take action, and work closely with your mental health practitioner to address your concerns. You can also take a self-assessment on the heyy app to keep monitoring your progress. And remember, change what you can in the present moment and let the rest take its course.

Helpers at heyy, are trained and experienced Mental Health Professionals who are equipped with tools to provide 24×7 mental health care to our users. Toxic workplace, trauma, and chronic stress are severe issues that can have grave mental health consequences.


If you identify with any of the symptoms mentioned in this piece, we recommend you reach out to our Helpers to seek help. It is important to remember that it is okay to reach out!


Download the heyy, app to take a quick self assessment and get your own stress score to guide you in the next steps of your mental health journey!

Learn more about mental health care and
what you can do