Anxiety unpacked1

Everyone expects to encounter ordinary levels of anxiety in their lifetime. Work problems, taking an exam, or making an important decision can all make you feel anxious.1

For people with a condition like generalised anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away, and can get worse over time.1

What is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)?

People with GAD experience extreme and endless worrying that occurs on most days for at least 6 months, about things like their health, work, relationships and everyday routines. The fear and anxiety can cause significant problems with social interactions, school and work.1

How is an anxiety disorder diagnosed?

Your doctor will check your physical health (to rule out underlying medical conditions) and give you a psychological evaluation.2

You can also complete the Generalised Anxiety Disorder questionnaire in the 
How to recognise and deal with anxiety leaflet. Share your completed questionnaire with your doctor. This could help him/her with your diagnosis and treatment decisions.3

How are anxiety disorders treated?

Your doctor will advise whether psychotherapy, medication, or both is best suited to treat your anxiety.1

Psychotherapy includes therapies like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which teaches people to think, behave and react differently to the things that cause anxiety and fear.1

Medication prescribed by your doctor can be used to help relieve the symptoms of anxiety.1

Some people might benefit from sharing their problems and achievements with others in support groups.1

Lifestyle changes can also help you get your anxiety under control. Find tips on how to do this in the 
How to recognise and deal with anxiety leaflet.

You can also get more information about managing your anxiety from The South African Depression and Anxiety Group at