Generalized Anxiety Disorder

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental disorder in which a person is often worried or anxious about many things and finds it hard to control this anxiety. Feel anxious from time to time is normal when life is stressful, but when the worry  interferes with day to day activities it is a disorder.

GAD can be said to have excessive and unrealistic worry which can be frightening and can interfere with relationships and daily activities. People find it difficult to control their worry, they usually anticipate disaster. A worry that does not allow you to do your daily activities.  Some people can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities when their anxiety is severe.

People living with GAD experience frequent anxiety for months, if not years.  Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge.

Symptoms of GAD.

There are many symptoms of GAD.  A person may not have all the symptoms or two or more persons need not have all the same symptoms. If some of these symptoms persist for over six months it is time to seek professional help.

  • Persistent worrying or anxiety about a number of areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events
  • Over thinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case outcomes, yet most often thinking of the worst case scenarios.
  • Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t
  • Difficulty in letting go of worries
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty with uncertain situations
  • 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

Physical signs and symptoms may include the following: fatigue, trouble sleeping, sweaty palms, feeling shaky or weak, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, muscle tension or muscle aches,   trembling, feeling twitchy, nervousness or being easily startled.

Behavioral symptoms include, Inability to relax, enjoy quiet time, or be by yourself, putting things off because you feel overwhelmed, avoiding situations that make you anxious.


The causes of GAD can be either hereditary or environmental or a combination of both.   Some of the common factors include things like genetic predisposition, brain chemistry, family background, social influence, and life experiences. The exact root of the issue may be hard to determine, but GAD is generally believed to be the result of a complex interaction of genetic, biological, trauma-related, and psychological factors.  The symptoms of GAD can happen as a side effect of a medicine or substance abuse. It can also be related to medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism. This can make the body response more excitable. GAD can be triggered by family or environmental stress. Chronic illness and disease can also trigger GAD.

What is the treatment for GAD? Mental health professionals are trained to diagnose and treat GAD.  GAD can be effectively treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches skills for handling anxiety, which helps those with GAD learn to control their worry on their own.

Lifestyle changes also help to control GAD.  Regular exercise, a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding caffeine, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, avoiding alcohol and other drugs, keeping a journal to help identify anxiety triggers and coping strategies, meditation can help to ease the situation.

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