General Anxiety Disorder Treatment in San Diego

Understanding General Anxiety Disorder

People with general anxiety disorder (GAD) have excessive, uncontrollable, and often irrational worry about events or activities. Most people feel anxious at times about stressful situations in their lives such as finances, but people with GAD feel overwhelmed by their problems and their anxiety. They are often overly concerned about everyday matters such as death, family, health, finances, relationships, or work. This excessive worry can interfere with their quality of life and everyday activities. While GAD is a chronic disorder, people can manage their symptoms with general anxiety disorder treatment in San Diego.

GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the population, each year and women are twice as likely to be affected. It comes on gradually and can begin at any age, though the risk is highest between childhood and adulthood. The exact cause of GAD is unknown, however, there is evidence that biological factors, genetics, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role. Living with a general anxiety disorder is a long-term challenge and can occur along with other anxiety or mood disorders.

Generally, general anxiety disorder improves with behavioral health treatment, medications, or a combination of both. Lifestyle changes, coping skills, and relaxation techniques can also greatly improve the quality of life. General anxiety treatment in San Diego can help individuals gain control of their symptoms and enjoy a happier, more engaging life. An untreated anxiety disorder can worsen or lead to other mental conditions, such as depression. Alter Mental Health anxiety treatment offers San Diego residents a safe, calm environment to gain control over their anxiety disorder through round-the-clock supervision, evidence-based treatment, and medication management.

Click here to contact Alter Mental Health San Diego at 657-218-5095 to learn about using our short-term crisis stabilization unit for individuals struggling with an acute mental health crisis.

Symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder

Individuals with GAD may anticipate disaster, worry more than seems warranted about actual events, or expect the worst. Often, people with GAD will avoid situations because of the disorder or not take advantage of opportunities due to their worry (i.e., social situations, travel, promotions, etc.). Sometimes, there may not be worrying thoughts, instead, there is a general anxious feeling or a sense that something bad is about to happen. Anxiety levels can range from mild to severe, so they may have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities. General anxiety disorder symptoms can manifest both physically and mentally, including:


    • Persistent worry or anxiety about several areas.

    • Inability to let go of worry.

    • Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case scenarios.

    • Perceiving situations or events are more threatening than they are.

    • Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision.

    • Insomnia and other sleep issues.

    • Difficulty concentrating, or feeling that your mind “goes blank.”

    • Difficulty handling uncertainty.

    • Irritability.

    • Nervousness.

    • Overthinking.

    • Fatigue and exhaustion.

    • Muscle tension.

    • Twitching or trembling.

    • Sweating.

    • Gastrointestinal issues such as stomachaches and diarrhea.

    • Rapid heartbeat.

    • Dry mouth.

    • Easily startled.

    • Feeling shaky or weak.

    • Neurological symptoms include numbness or tingling in different parts of the body.

Diagnosing General Anxiety Disorder in San Diego

Like other mental health disorders, a mental health professional or doctor may begin diagnosing general anxiety disorder by ruling out other underlying medical conditions as the cause of symptoms. They may perform a physical exam and order blood or urine tests if a medical condition is suspected. Next, your clinician will complete a psychological assessment, and use diagnostic criteria, and their clinical judgment to make a diagnosis.

Generally, they will ask open-ended questions about symptoms or have the person complete a self-report questionnaire. GAD can be difficult to diagnose as many other mental health conditions cause anxiety symptoms, including depression. Clinicians will consider how long symptoms have been present, their intensity, and their impact on everyday tasks when diagnosing general anxiety disorder.

General Anxiety Disorder Treatment Options in San Diego

General anxiety disorder symptoms can be successfully managed with proper treatment. There are several options for general anxiety disorder treatment in San Diego, including outpatient care through therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists. GAD affects each person differently and will require personalized care, including psychotherapy, counseling, medication management, holistic practices, self-care techniques, and peer support groups. Like Alter Mental Health, a San Diego mental health clinic can provide the care and treatment needed to manage GAD.

Psychotherapy and behavioral health therapy will teach coping skills, relaxation techniques, and tools to manage anxiety symptoms. Therapy can also uncover and treat the underlying causes of anxiety, such as trauma. Medication management includes antidepressants, like Zoloft and Lexapro, and benzodiazepines, like diazepam and clonazepam, which are helpful in managing symptoms as the person learns and implements coping strategies from therapy.

General anxiety disorder San Diego can lead to a mental health crisis if gone untreated. People with anxiety disorders may develop depression or suicidal tendencies due to constant worry, stress, and isolation from the disorder. To ensure safety, intensive treatment with 24-hour monitoring such as a hospital or inpatient treatment center may be necessary.

General Anxiety Disorder Treatment San Diego

Treatment Types

Crisis stabilization units like Alter Mental Health offer a safe, comfortable alternative to inpatient hospitalization for individuals in a mental health crisis or who need short-term intensive care. Alter Mental Health in San Diego can help individuals struggling with GAD take a break from their lives to fully focus on healing in a calm, supportive environment where they will build a solid foundation toward long-term recovery. Our programs offer whole-person wellness which goes beyond treating the symptoms of general anxiety disorder to provide care to all areas of a person’s life affected by or contributing to their disorder. Each mental health treatment program is personalized to include various forms of therapy to find what works best for each patient, including:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Research has shown that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is significantly more effective than all other psychological treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. CBT teaches people different ways of behaving, reacting, and thinking about situations that reduce anxiety and worry. Our therapists at Alter Mental Health will examine patients’ unhelpful thinking patterns and teach new, effective ways to challenge situations to reduce anxiety. CBT can also teach relaxation techniques to reduce the physical effects of anxiety. Patients may also be encouraged to face their fears and test their extreme predictions to reduce worst-case-scenario thinking.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy similar to CBT but with a greater focus on the social-emotional aspects of life. It can help patients improve emotional regulation and mindfulness to change negative behavior patterns. DBT can be used both in individual and group therapy. People can learn how to address negative emotions by acknowledging them and then letting them go. DBT can also help patients learn how to deal with others through interpersonal effectiveness so they can handle anxiety-producing interactions more easily.

Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT)

Solution-focused therapy (SFT) is another psychotherapy we use at Alter Mental Health which helps people address current issues and challenges instead of dwelling on past events. Patients are taught how to redirect their thoughts and behaviors away from the things that trigger their anxiety and instead focus on positive solutions to their problems. SFT helps individuals to identify negative thought patterns contributing to their anxiety and develop new coping strategies to deal with them. It can help people feel more in control and confident in managing their anxiety. Because SFT helps patients discover and apply skills, strengths, and abilities already possessed instead of developing, it can provide more rapid relief of general anxiety disorder symptoms.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Successfully managing general anxiety disorder relies on consistent treatment and the ability to apply skills and tools learned in therapy. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a form of therapy that aims to motivate and empower patients to change their lives to manage GAD, such as adhering to long-term treatment plans and making necessary lifestyle changes. It can improve CBT outcomes by improving motivation to keep up with treatment and complete homework assignments.

Psychoeducational and Process Groups

At Alter Mental Health, we place patients with similar diagnoses together for psychoeducational and process groups. These groups are important for fostering family and community support in our whole-person wellness programs. People can learn, heal, and support one another through group therapy, reducing loneliness and isolation often felt during treatment. Our licensed therapists lead psychoeducational and process groups, who will educate patients about their disorders and provide management techniques.

Holistic Practices

Alter Mental Health takes a holistic approach to treating generalized anxiety disorder and other mental health disorders. We aim to treat the root causes of GAD, not just anxiety symptoms. Our whole-person wellness programs will help patients manage their symptoms through mindfulness, stress reduction techniques, and overall wellness. People can expect their treatment programs to incorporate nutrition and physical activity to heal the body, mind, and spirit. Both of these holistic practices can help regulate neurotransmitters and biochemicals in the brain necessary for mental health.

Click here to contact Alter Mental Health San Diego at 657-218-5095 to learn about using our short-term crisis stabilization unit for individuals struggling with an acute mental health crisis.

Why Choose Alter Mental Health for General Anxiety Disorder Treatment in San Diego

Alter Mental Health’s general anxiety disorder treatment in San Diego offers a residential program alternative to the institution or hospital inpatient treatment. We provide 24-hour monitoring and treatment to stabilize general anxiety disorder in a comfortable, calm environment. Our licensed clinicians have the knowledge and expertise to diagnose and implement effective personalized treatment plans properly. Patients can expect holistic, evidence-based treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and medication management. Short-term intensive programs like ours can help reset life’s stressors and set the foundation for long-term recovery. Before being discharged, we will provide people with referrals for ongoing services so they can continue with necessary treatment as they return to home life.

If you or someone you love is struggling with general anxiety disorder, Alter Mental Health can help you quickly regain control of your mental health. Please call us today at 657-218-5095 or contact our team online. Our assessment counselors are available 24 hours daily to answer your questions or begin the admissions process as soon as possible.