General Anxiety Disorder

Throughout the following months, Findhorn Flower Essence will be discussing the four most prevalent anxiety disorders (general; panic; phobic; obsessive – compulsive). This special feature will address each disorder individually, by first identifying and explaining the disorder. This month we will be looking at general anxiety disorder (GAD).

In America, anxiety disorders have lifetime prevalence 28.8%. This means that at some point in their life, 28.8% of the American population will suffer from a “case” of some sort of anxiety disorder (Kessler et al., 2005). Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychiatric conditions in the USA, aside from substance abuse related disorders.

Being a similar western culture, America’s stats are likely to be suitably similar to the UK. Thus one can hazard a good guess that anxiety disorders are likely to be a real concern for many people in the UK also.

GAD is characterized by long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on any one object or situation. Those suffering from GAD experience non-specific persistent fear and worry, and become overly concerned with everyday matters.

In a European study, during a given 12 month period, roughly 2% of the population had this condition (Wittchen and Jacobi, 2005). In American, 5.7% of the population has at one point in their life experienced GAD, with 45-59 year olds being the most common age bracket to suffer from this condition (Grant et al., 2005).

The diagnostic criteria according to the DSM-IV-TR (the manual used by the UK and America to clinically diagnose) are as follows:

  • Excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities.
  • Difficulty in controlling worry.
  • The anxiety and worry are associated with three or more of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the previous 6 months): restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep).
  • The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of other types of disorders (e.g., panic disorder, social phobia, obsessive–compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, or anorexia nervosa), and the anxiety and worry do not occur exclusively as part of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a medication, substance abuse, or a general medical condition and does not occur exclusively during a mood disorder (such as depression), a psychotic disorder (such as schizophrenia), or a pervasive developmental disorder (such as autism).

By Michael Stoker, MA Psych.


Marion, can you please explain what essences can be used to aid these disorders?

Since my son, Michael, has recently graduated from Glasgow University and has been home and working at FFE this summer. I asked him to write a number of pieces on anxiety disorders, being as his subject is psychology.

This is the first installment on GAD. From this information, I have pondered on which flower essences would be helpful.

Last week I was finishing my research into Watercress that led me into investigating the causes of irritation and irritability, which is featured in the list of diagnostic criteria, and is also an indication for Watercress.

I learned that irritability is the effect of some underlying disorder or condition. Irritability is an emotional behaviour that can be a normal response to conditions like stress and anxiety. Typical emotional co-existing symptoms include agitation, anger, restlessness, confusion etc., which are also in the list of diagnostic criteria for GAD.

I discovered these co-existing symptoms: - tiredness, fatigue, inadequate sleep, emotional problems, forgetfulness, mental illness, and drug/alcohol abuse. From this I compiled a list of the diagnostic criteria for GAD, noticing that they correlated precisely with the concomitants of irritability.

Anxiety and worry

Difficulty in controlling worry

Restlessness or feeling keyed up or being on edge

Easily fatigued

Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank


Muscle tension

Sleep disturbance


My search on the causes of irritation next took me to Esoteric Healing. Irritation is a problem associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra. It is primarily a centre for transferring energies upwards to the higher chakras and is a great clearing house and composting’ area for emotional energies. Irritation is said to be a psychological cleavage. When energies are suppressed in one area, the Solar Plexus becomes a “great reservoir of drastically retained energy” (Bailey, 1951-70 v.4 p.239).

I am directed once again to Watercress essence as a potential drainage remedy for irritation caused by an underlying friction and consequently leading to confusion and disorientation, agitation, and frustration. The positive energies and qualities needed to bring one back into balance are calm, serenity and relaxation.


Individual essences that could be considered are -

Monkey Flower - for irrational fears, fear of strong emotions, anger as a defence mechanism; to take charge of one’s emotions and to stand in power, strength and wisdom

Scottish Primrose - anxiety, fear or panic, stress and conflict; to maintain stable emotional and mental calm; to release inner conflict and relax; more peaceful and a better sleep

Sycamore - Stress and tension causing profound fatigue, volatile moods; to restore the smooth flow of our energies, self-composure, to be soft and more open.

Birch - worry or anxiety, mental confusion, narrow-minded thinking, to be open minded and freethinking.


Combination formulas that could be considered are -

First Aid - In the first instance to calm and soothe (works quickly)

Calm Me Down - Following on from First Aid, Calm Me Down helps in mastering negative emotions that impede clear thinking

Clear Light - As an aid to bringing about a peaceful state of mind. Also for clarity and focus.

Sweet Dreams - Relax and let go of worries and cares... I would be pleased to hear from anyone with experience of using flower essences or the emotional, psycho-spiritual causes and effects of GAD.


Best Wishes, Marion Leigh

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