What is General Anxiety Disorder?

worried-girl-413690_1280Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some times in their lives, that feeling of worry or unease you feel before an interview, a flight, moving house, or public speaking. Anxiety is a normal part of everyday life.

However, people with a General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) find it hard to control their worries and often find that their anxieties control or take over their daily lives.

People who suffer from GAD will often experience anxiety about a large number of situations and issues rather than isolated events like most people. GAD sufferers will often find that there are so many situations and issues that cause them anxiety, that they cannot remember the last time they were truly relaxed and anxiety free.

Symptoms of GAD

Diagnosing GAD can often be made more difficult by other psychiatric disorders and is often complicated by alcohol or drug abuse.

That said, there are a few basic symptoms that a patient must show before a doctor will consider General Anxiety Disorder.

To begin with a patient must have experienced severe anxiety about a number of different events or activities for the majority of days over the past 6 months and find it very difficult to control the worry.
Worrying about a single problem in life would not constitute GAD

Patient must have exhibited at least three of the following symptoms in relation to the anxiety for the majority of time over the past 6 months:

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance

All of the above must of course not be as a result of drug or alcohol misuse

Related Issues

People with GAD may also suffer from panic disorders, panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and may also misuse alcohol or drugs as a way of coping with their anxiety.

Physical symptoms may also include Irritable Bowel Syndrome, headaches, heart problems, or heartburn


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