Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common mental health problem that affects nearly 3.1% of the United States population in a given year.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People suffering from GAD have an extremely difficult time controlling their anxiety. Most people with GAD have an intolerance to uncertainty and since life itself is uncertain (ie. finances, family and friends, health, etc.), those with GAD are more effected by these changing variables.
Chronic anxiety keeps the sympathetic nervous system, the area in the brain responsible for fight or flight, constantly aroused. This makes it difficult for the GAD sufferer to relax, and consequently, they have a hard time falling asleep or unwinding after a long day.
When someone is diagnosed with GAD, their doctor usually recommends cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (antidepressant). Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered the ‘gold standard’ for GAD, and many peer-reviewed studies have found this kind of therapy, in combination with antidepressants to be quite effective at reducing patient’s anxiety and increase their quality of life.
Weighted blankets can be tools that help GAD sufferers relax during times of stress, and sleep better at night. The weighted blanket tricks your brain into thinking your body is being hugged, which releases positive feelings in the form of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.
The blanket shouldn’t be used as the only treatment modality, but it will likely be an excellent addition to the treatments prescribed by your doctor or mental health professional.