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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder in adults
By Research Staff
Generalized Anxiety Disorder

It's normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially if your life is stressful. However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that are difficult to control and interfere with day-to-day activities may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.


It's possible to develop generalized anxiety disorder as a child or an adult. Generalized anxiety disorder has symptoms that are similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety, but they're all different conditions.


Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge. In many cases, it occurs along with other anxiety or mood disorders. In most cases, generalized anxiety disorder improves with psychotherapy or medications. Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills and using relaxation techniques also can help.


Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can vary. They may include:

. Persistent worrying or anxiety about a number of areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events
. Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes
. Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren't
. Difficulty handling uncertainty
. Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
. Inability to set aside or let go of a worry
. Inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on edge
. Difficulty concentrating, or the feeling that your mind "goes blank"
Physical signs and symptoms may include:

. Fatigue
. Trouble sleeping
. Muscle tension or muscle aches
. Trembling, feeling twitchy
. Nervousness or being easily startled
. Sweating
. Nausea, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome
. Irritability
There may be times when your worries don't completely consume you, but you still feel anxious even when there's no apparent reason. For example, you may feel intense worry about your safety or that of your loved ones, or you may have a general sense that something bad is about to happen.

Your anxiety, worry or physical symptoms cause you significant distress in social, work or other areas of your life. Worries can shift from one concern to another and may change with time and age.

Causes of and risk factors for GAD may include:

. a family history of anxiety
. recent or prolonged exposure to stressful situations, including personal or family illnesses
. excessive use of caffeine or tobacco, which can make existing anxiety worse
. childhood abuse

According to the Mayo Clinic, women are twice as likely as men to experience GAD.

Medication and specific types of psychotherapy are the recommended treatments for this disorder. The choice of one or the other, or both, depends on the patient's and the doctor's preference, and also on the particular anxiety disorder.

Before treatment can begin, the doctor must conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine whether symptoms are due to an anxiety disorder, which anxiety disorder(s) you may have, and what coexisting conditions may be present. Anxiety disorders are not all treated the same, and it is important to determine the specific problem before embarking on a course of treatment. Sometimes alcoholism or some other coexisting condition will have such an impact that it is necessary to treat it at the same time or before treating the anxiety disorder.

If you have been treated previously for an anxiety disorder, be prepared to tell the doctor what treatment you tried. If it was a medication, it is helpful for the doctor to know the dosage, how long you took it for, and whether it was gradually increased. If you had psychotherapy, it's also helpful to share the type of psychotherapy, how often you attended sessions, and what you felt did or did not help. People often believe they have "failed" at treatment, or that the treatment has failed them, when in fact it was never given an adequate trial or may have been a poor fit as far as treatment choice.

When you undergo treatment for an anxiety disorder, you and your health professional will be working together as a team. Together, you will attempt to find the approach that is best for you. If one treatment doesn't work, the odds are good that another one will. Additionally, new treatments are continually being developed through research.

https://www.mayoclinic.org
https://www.healthline.com
https://www.psychologytoday.com

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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