Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at RiverWoods Behavioral Health System to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at RiverWoods Behavioral Health System.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Anxiety Causes, Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects

No one experiences anxiety the same way as someone else. Understanding the signs, symptoms and side effects of anxiety is a key component toward starting the recovery journey.

Understanding Anxiety

Learn about anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive anxiety and fear over everyday events and activities. Everyone has things that they worry about, but the worries associated with GAD are much more excessive than what would be considered normal. The symptoms are more pronounced, distressing, and pervasive than the typical worries of everyday life. People with GAD worry even when there is little or no reason to worry.

Individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorder report that their anxiety seems to come out of nowhere and is typically not a direct response to anything they can identify. The anxiety that people with GAD experience is continuous, and they may find that they have difficulty recognizing times when they are not worrying. They struggle to control their anxiety, which often only serves to make the problem worse. These individuals may then develop a sense of helplessness if nothing they try alleviates their anxiety. Ultimately, the symptoms and effects of GAD can begin to interfere in all areas of their life, leading to distress as they find it difficult to function appropriately on a daily basis.

While there is no cure for generalized anxiety disorder, the symptoms can be successfully managed. With the right treatments and support, someone with GAD can live a happy and normal life. Our residential program for anxiety in South Atlanta (Riverdale) Georgia helps individuals struggling with GAD manage the symptoms and address underlying causes of the anxiety which allows leading healthier and more fulfilling lives.


Anxiety statistics

In the United States, it is estimated that 0.9% of adolescents and 2.9% of adults suffer from GAD in a given year. However, the lifetime risk for developing the disorder is 9%. Females are twice as likely to experience GAD as men. However, it has been suggested that this proportion may not be accurate as men are less likely than women to report anxiety symptoms. The average age of onset for GAD is 30 years old with the incidence rate generally peaking in adulthood and middle age.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for anxiety

There are a number of different factors that have been hypothesized as being potential causes for the development of generalized anxiety disorder. Some of these factors may include:

GeneticsNumerous studies have supported a genetic component behind the development of GAD. An individual with a first degree relative who has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder will have a greater chance of developing GAD as compared to individuals without any family history of anxiety.

Brain StructureThere are certain parts of the brain that regulate fear, memory, and stress. Studies indicate that in individuals with GAD, these areas of the brain are highly sensitive to unfamiliar or unpredictable situations. Since no one can fully predict what is going to occur next, people with GAD react by becoming anxious almost all the time. Additionally, the brain may interpret physiological reactions that resemble stress reactions and assume that anxiety is appropriate, therefore producing it regardless of any discernible threat or danger.

NeurotransmittersResearch has shown that general anxiety disorder has been associated with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine each play a role in anxiety control. When there are abnormal levels of these neurotransmitters, messages in the brain may not be communicated properly. Thus, the brain may evaluate non-threatening situations incorrectly, signaling to the body that danger is near. Although the individual may not know what is causing his or her fear, he or she reacts to the brain’s message and experiences a state of anxiety.

EnvironmentalIndividuals who have experienced severe stressors, such as traumatic events, the death of a loved one, dangerous situations, divorce, sudden illness, or job loss, are more likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

There are a number of signs and symptoms that are hallmarks of GAD. These can include:

  • Chronically excessive and unrealistic worry
  • The worry is connected to numerous things in the individual’s life (e.g. work, school, the future, and social situations)
  • The worry may not be connected to anything identifiable
  • The worry is excessive or unwarranted
  • The worry is impossible to control
  • Having an awareness that the worrying is excessive
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Trembling
  • Trouble with concentration, attention, and memory
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Mind going blank
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Muscle tension
  • Bodily aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Rapid pulse, elevated hearth rate, difficulty breathing at times
  • Sweating
  • The need to go to the bathroom frequently
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Sleep problems
  • Having difficulty swallowing
  • Unrealistic view of problems

Effects of anxiety

While the symptoms of GAD may wax and wane over the life span, this disorder rarely remits without treatment and can negatively impact all areas of life. Therefore, it is important to receive help if you believe you or someone you love is suffering from this disorder.

As a result of excessive worrying, GAD can have a huge impact on an individual’s life. Some of the long-term effects that untreated GAD can have on an individual may include:

  • Problems functioning or effectively working at one’s job
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Social isolation
  • Withdrawal from activities once enjoyed
  • Marital problems
  • Difficulty carrying out daily activities
  • Inability to do things quickly or accurately
  • Inability to interact normally with others
  • Feeling unable to do anything to make things better
  • Loss of self-esteem due to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • The individual loses the motivation to try to make things better
Co-Occurring Disorders

Anxiety and co-occurring disorders

GAD rarely occurs alone. The most common co-occurring disorders include:

  • Other anxiety disorders (e.g. panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, social phobia, simple phobia, agoraphobia, separation anxiety)
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
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