Generalised Anxiety & Excessive Worry

Everyone worries from time to time, but sometimes worry becomes very difficult to control and seems to take up a lot of time and energy. Although individuals with generalised anxiety may recognise that their worry is excessive, they usually feel powerless to stop it.

People worry about a wide variety of issues, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Finances
  • Job security
  • Their health, or the health of their loved ones
  • Global issues
  • Social relationships
  • Their performance in areas such as work, school, sports or other pursuits (i.e., being “good enough”)

Often when worry gets to such a point, an individual’s sleep may become affected – most commonly they have trouble falling asleep as they lie awake worrying (and then often start worrying about not getting enough sleep!). They may also experience physical symptoms such as stomach aches, nausea, headaches or muscle tension. They may feel extremely tired, on edge and irritable, and they may have more difficulty than usual concentrating.


Treatment of Generalised Anxiety Disorder and excessive worry involves a type of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is specifically designed to address worry: Metacognitive Therapy (MCT). MCT aims to identify unhelpful thoughts about the dangers, and even the benefits, of worry. It then introduces strategies to break the worry cycle. Because worry is considered to be a quest for certainty in an uncertain world, often therapy also involves helping clients build tolerance of uncertainty.