Generalised Anxiety (GAD)

Therapy for GAD


Do you have a lot of “what if?” worries or find yourself worrying excessively about things in the past or future?  People with GAD have a persistent and excessive worry about a variety of things. You may make anxious predictions about future events, ruminate over previous events and generally find it difficult to control worry.  

GAD can cause a change in the way you behave in addition to the way you think and feel about things, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • Feeling anxious or on edge
  • Increased irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sense of dread
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Feeling “on edge”
  • Worrying too much about different things
  • Physical symptoms such as
    • Tiredness
    • Dizzy
    • Muscle tension
    • IBS
    • Pins and needles


People with GAD can be inclined to try and control as much as possible in an attempt to reduce increased stress levels.  Of course, this is not possible. People who worry a lot have a strong reaction to uncertainty; they can be quite intolerant to it.  Intolerance of uncertainty can be described as the difficulty of accepting the fact that it is not completely impossible that a negative event might happen despite its low probability. The example below by Concordia University  describes someone who has difficulty tolerating uncertainty:

Allison and Brenda are both referred for an abdominal ultrasound because of recurring abdominal pain. Allison asks her doctor about the possible cause of her pain and the medical procedure and then makes an appointment. During the next few days, she thinks about the procedure and starts to feel anxious. She tells herself, however, that the procedure will help determine the cause of her pain. She continues with her daily activities and doesn’t think too much about the procedure. Brenda, on the other hand, asks her doctor plenty of questions. She wants to be reassured and told that she does not have cancer. Over the next few days, she thinks often about the procedure, imagining that she will be told she has cancer, that she will have to undergo difficult treatments, that she might die, and that her children will grow up without a mother. To calm herself, she looks for information on the Internet and asks her husband for reassurance about her condition. Despite everything she is told, she continues to feel anxious and has difficulty sleeping.

There are maybe areas in your life that you can tolerate uncertainty but other areas that you struggle with.  If you are like Brenda, you might have difficulty tolerating uncertainty.  People who worry a lot can have a lot of “what if” worries.  This is also known as unproductive worry.  Searching for certainty can actually maintains being intolerant of uncertainty and can actually increase worry symptoms.  If you come for CBT we will work on reversing your usual way of responding in an attempt to increase your tolerance of uncertainty.