Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a long-term condition associated with “free-floating” feelings of anxiety and irrational worry in a broad range of scenarios — such as finances, interpersonal relationships, the workplace, health issues, and death — rather than in just a single, isolated event.

While many are familiar with feeling anxious during stressful situations such as a job interview, taking an exam, or public speaking, persistent or excessive symptoms of anxiety that impair functioning can indicate a generalized anxiety disorder.

Prevalence

One of the most common mental disorders, GAD has a lifetime prevalence of 3 – 5%, with onset possible in childhood or adulthood. The female to male ratio of this condition is 2:1.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

GAD has similar symptoms to other anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and panic disorder, but GAD is characterized by physical symptoms and psychological symptoms.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Palpitations (an awareness of your heart beating faster than usual)
  • Shortness of breath
  • “Churning of the stomach”
  • A choking sensation

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability
  • Feeling “on edge”
  • A foreboding that something terrible is about to happen

Diagnosing Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

To get an official diagnosis of GAD, symptoms must be present most days of the week for at least six months. A doctor will complete a number of tests and investigations to rule out any other reasons for symptoms because many of the symptoms for GAD are also the symptoms for medical conditions such as an overactive thyroid. The person’s answer to questionnaires, such as the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-7, will help the doctor nail down the exact cause and severity of GAD.

GAD is not necessarily a standalone disorder; it can often coexist with other mental disorders such as depression and/or alcohol dependence syndrome.

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

The mainstay of treatment for GAD is talking therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication. Actions that can also reduce the symptoms of GAD are:

  • Modifying your lifestyle, such as cutting down your alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Learning coping strategies
  • Developing relaxation techniques

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

GAD has similar symptoms to other anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and panic disorder, but GAD is characterized by physical symptoms and psychological symptoms.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Palpitations (an awareness of your heart beating faster than usual)
  • Shortness of breath
  • “Churning of the stomach”
  • A choking sensation

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability
  • Feeling “on edge”
  • A foreboding that something terrible is about to happen

Diagnosing Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

To get an official diagnosis of GAD, symptoms must be present most days of the week for at least six months. A doctor will complete a number of tests and investigations to rule out any other reasons for symptoms because many of the symptoms for GAD are also the symptoms for medical conditions such as an overactive thyroid. The person’s answer to questionnaires, such as the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-7, will help the doctor nail down the exact cause and severity of GAD.

GAD is not necessarily a standalone disorder; it can often coexist with other mental disorders such as depression and/or alcohol dependence syndrome.

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

The mainstay of treatment for GAD is talking therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication. Actions that can also reduce the symptoms of GAD are:

  • Modifying your lifestyle, such as cutting down your alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Learning coping strategies
  • Developing relaxation techniques
Source Psych Central