Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes its sufferers chronic and exaggerated worry and tension that seem to have no substantial cause. Persons with generalized anxiety disorder often worry excessively about health, money, family, or work, and continually anticipate disaster.
Although GAD may be accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or another anxiety disorder, impairment is usually mild. Generally, persons with this disorder do not:
feel too restricted in social settings.
feel too restricted on the job.
avoid certain situations.
People with this disorder usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants, but cannot rid themselves of these irrational concerns. The following are the most common symptoms of GAD. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
trouble falling or staying asleep
lightheadedness and/or difficulty breathing
feeling as though there is a lump in the throat
lack of concentration
being easily startled
prone to irritable bowel syndrome
inability to relax
The symptoms of GAD may resemble other psychiatric conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
GAD begins gradually, usually in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood, too. It is more commonly seen in women and often occurs in relatives of affected persons. Each year, 2.8 percent of persons ages 18 and 54 are affected by GAD.
GAD is diagnosed when someone spends at least six months worried excessively about a number of everyday problems.
Specific treatment for GAD will be determined by your physician based on:
your age, overall health, and medical history
extent of the disease
your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
expectations for the course of the disease
your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
biofeedback (to control muscle tension)
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