How to Cope With Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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One of the most important parts of having generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is learning how to cope with the persistent anxiety and some of the physical symptoms. This page can serve as a guide to coping with anxiety that you can return to when you need additional tips.

Understanding GAD

It is crucial to understand the elements of GAD as completely as possible to be able to cope with it effectively.

If you have met with your doctor or therapist, you may have a basic understanding of GAD, but a thorough knowledge can help you understand your unique situation better. The following articles are a good way to begin or increase your depth of understanding of GAD:

  • GAD Diagnostic Criteria This article will give you a great overview of the symptoms of GAD and how mental health professionals diagnose it. Healthcare providers rely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness, 5th edition as a guide for all mental illness criteria. 
  • Normal Anxiety or GAD? Many times people wonder whether if their experience of anxiety is normal or is of greater concern, and this article will help you know the difference. In general, GAD requires that your symptoms be present for several months and be harming your social life or career. 
  • Physical Symptoms of GAD Some of the most common symptoms of GAD are somatic or physical symptoms and this article can be your guide to the typical examples. Symptoms often include increased heart rate, rushed breathing, shakiness, faintness, and difficulty concentrating. 

    Coping Styles

    There is a variety of coping styles people use when dealing with stress and anxiety. Some of these methods focus on tackling problems and issues head-on, while others employ methods of avoidance or less desirable practice like self-medicating. The following articles can help you understand these processes in more depth:

    • Coping Styles for Anxiety There are some coping style basics that you can learn with this coping guide.
    • Problem-Focused Coping for Anxiety This is one of the most important forms of healthy coping that we can learn from anxiety and other life problems.

    Coping Techniques

    Beyond each major type of coping style is a variety of techniques that can also be used to decrease and cope with anxiety symptoms. Learning some of these for your “anti-anxiety toolbox” will be essential to maintaining a more peaceful life experience:

    • Mindfulness and GAD Mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to work on your anxiety and is a useful tool.
    • Anxiety and Better Sleep Finding a way to sleep better is crucial to being able to cope with anxiety and this article details an important method to try.
    • 5 Ways to Cope with Anxiety This article will show you some tips and tricks to try to help manage your symptoms.

    Professional Treatment

    Finally, a major step of effective coping is finding professional help. Some styles of therapy will teach you how to apply specific relaxation techniques to your life and others will focus on understanding what makes you anxious and why.

    • Types of Therapy for GAD There are a variety of therapeutic approaches to GAD; this article details the most popular and effective.


    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness, 5th edition. American Psychiatric Association, 2013.