GAD: Leave Behind Your Worries

by Dana Terrell, LCSW, EAC

dana-terrell-therapistGAD or General Anxiety Disorder can result in a lifetime of worry.  Is uncertainty often intolerable for you, one of your friends or loved ones?  Seem to go a bit frantic when trying to solve a problem? Do you believe that worry serves some purpose in your life, and yet feel tortured by it at the same time? Do you tend to avoid many things that stress you? All are key symptoms of GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Initial Research of 4 clients with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) demonstrated that they no longer qualified for the diagnosis of GAD after 15 to 19 sessions of EMDR Therapy. This was validated by changes in their scores on the Penn State Worry Questionnaire.

Treatment consisted of identifying the experiences in the client’s past that contributed to the current GAD symptoms and diagnosis. Clients were asked to rate their current level of distress about those memories.  Those with the highest level of distress were chosen for EMDR processing.

The next phase targeted current situations or future potential worries, with ratings for level of distress.  Again, the most disturbing concerns were targeted with EMDR therapy.

Future studies are needed with many more research subjects, but this initial research shows great promise for GAD.  Good research has already shown that EMDR can help significantly with anxiety disorders other than GAD, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and Phobias.  If anxiety is worrying you, we invite you to try EMDR. Many EMDR therapists have found EMDR helps with Panic Disorder as well, but more research is needed on that subject.

For PTSD, an intense anxiety disorder, the prestigious Cochran Review from Britain recommends that all sufferers be offered either EMDR Therapy or CBT.  Both have high success rates.  EMDR Therapy accomplishes the goal in less time, with far less homework, so it is worth trying — especially for people who do not like  or have not benefitted from CBT. is a valuable source of education about EMDR Therapy as well as EMDRIA-Certified EMDR therapists.