Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder marked by chronic, exaggerated worrying and anxiety about everyday life. The worry is so severe that it interferes with their ability to live their lives.

  • Causes

    Anxiety may be caused by:

    • An abnormal neurotransmitter system
    • Genetics
    • Environmental factors
    • Developmental factors
    • Psychological factors

  • Definition


    Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an
    anxiety disorder
    marked by chronic, exaggerated worrying and anxiety about everyday life. The worry is so severe that it interferes with their ability to live their lives.

  • Diagnosis


    You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will also look for other medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms such as hyperthyroidism.

    You will be asked about any medications that you are taking, including over-the-counter products, herbs, and supplements. Some medications can cause side effects similar to the symptoms of GAD. You will also be asked about any other substances that you may be using such as nicotine, caffeine, illegal drugs, prescription medications, and alcohol.

    To make a diagnosis of GAD, symptoms must:

    • Be present more days than not
    • Be present for at least six months
    • Interfere with your life such as causing you to miss work or school

  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines for preventing GAD.

  • Risk Factors

    Anxiety is more common in females. Factors that may increase the risk of GAD include:

    • Family members with an
      anxiety
      disorder
    • Increase in stress
    • Exposure to physical or emotional trauma
    • Unemployment, poverty
    • Drug abuse
    • Medical condition or disability

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of GAD usually develop slowly. People with GAD often have both psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety.

    Psychological symptoms include:

    • Excessive ongoing worrying and tension
    • Feeling tense or edgy
    • Irritability, overly stressed
    • Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness

    Physical symptoms may include:

    • Muscle tension
    • Lightheadedness
    • Trembling
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Restlessness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sweating
    • Heart palpitations
    • Chest pain
    • Choking sensation
    • Abdominal discomfort
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Numbness or tingling
    Symptoms of Anxiety
    Physiological effects of anxiety
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    People with GAD often have other anxiety disorders,
    depression
    , and/or
    alcohol abuse
    or
    drug abuse.

  • Treatment


    If you have a mild form of GAD, your doctor will probably first have you try
    therapy
    to learn to manage anxious thoughts.