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August 28, 2008

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

For the chronic worriers among us, there is hope. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by worries without a source, or worries that far exceed what is realistic for a given situation and disrupt daily living. One of the mildest of mental conditions, generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by feelings of being keyed up, difficulty concentrating, irritability, trouble falling or staying asleep, muscle tension, and headaches, to name a few.

Treatments include dietary modifications such as specific foods rich in tryptophans (which convert to seratonin), along with exercise. Complimentary treatments such as vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements, homeopathy, and essential oils are an option. However, if your anxiety is spiralling out of control, a doctor's visit may be in order. They will likely recommend treatment with psychotherapy and prescription medication.

Of course, massage therapy is one of the best treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. When I was in massage school, I was holding down a full time job and going to school at night. I had just moved to a new city and knew no one, so I did not have my usual support systems. On top of that, my Dad was ill and needed surgery the week I started my new job. Not long after that, I became engaged and was planning my wedding. Many of these were positive stressors, but stressors, nonetheless.

The combination was enough to make anyone anxious, but during massage school, as part of our training, we would receive bodywork one to three times a week from our fellow students. While I juggled many responsibilities at my new job, including projects, production, and client interactions, I stayed amazingly calm. I was able to meet deadlines and transition between tasks, despite multiple interruptions, without missing a beat. And through all of these demands, my mood was even-tempered and I was generally upbeat and cheerful. It was one of the most productive periods in my life. I credit my success to massage therapy.

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Posted by linda at August 28, 2008 4:52 PM

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