This month I am going to talk about one of the psychiatric disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which affects negatively productivity and performance at work.

According to the cognitive model, people experience generalized anxiety because they are inclined to perceive many situations as a threat due to their beliefs regarding themselves or life itself. Belief varies depending on the person, but the most common beliefs encountered are about being accepted, competition, responsibility, control and anxiety symptoms themselves. Examples to being accepted are: “as long as I am not loved I am nobody”, “I have to please everybody all the time”. The thought: “if I have made a mistake, this means I have lost everything” is a good example for competition. An example for control would be: “I should always be in control”, and for anxiety symptoms: “showing anxiety symptoms would be the worst thing that can happen to me”, “I should always be relaxed and restful”. 

Once a person develops anxiety, changes occur in concentration and behaviors, leading to the continuation of anxiety. When in threatening environments, the probable threats are revised by a selective attention. For example, when a person with anxiety is making a speech to a group, he/she tends to look at everybodies face impression, every time he/she is confronting a group. And if he/she sees someone looking out of the window, the interpretation would be “people think that I am very boring”.   People with generalized anxiety, who think they have to do everything perfectly, tend to postpone their tasks with a feeling that they won’t be able to do it perfectly. At one point this postponing process will itself be the source of anxiety. At this point the person starts to doubt about his/her ability, and starts to think “I am very incompetent”, and feel much worse. 

Cognitive-behavioral treatment used in treating generalized anxiety disorder, aims to decrease anxiety by teaching how to recognize, evaluate, control and change the negative thoughts and behaviors created by threat.

Psychologist  Romina Kuyumcuoğl u