A Tip Sheet on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Generalized anxiety disorder is the main form of anxiety disorders.  Known by the acronym GAD , general anxiety disorder can be described as extreme worry and tension without any trigger to provoke it.  GAD is chronic and usually will affect a person day after day.  Unlike some other forms of anxiety disorders GAD does not just come and go.  A person with GAD always worries about something, even going as far as to anticipate what can go wrong with every situation.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD is characterized by excessive worrying about everyday issues that lasts for 6 months or more.  A person with GAD can not shake their worries.  They may realise that they worry too much or that it is not necessary is certain situations, but they cannot control it.

A person with GAD may have difficulties relaxing and concentrating.  They may also suffer from sleeping problems.  GAD can also result in physical symptoms like muscle tension and aches, fatigue, headaches, nausea, twitching, lightheadedness, breathing issues and frequent urination.

GAD can be mild to severe.  People with a mild form of GAD can usually function through daily life.  People with severe GAD, though, may be unable to hold down a job and make it through a typical day.

Causes for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD usually affects women more than men.  It usually starts gradually and evidence shows that genetics play some role in GAD.  The actually cause of GAD is not known for certain.

Some suspect that GAD is linked to brain chemical malfunctions.  There are some factors that may increase the risk for developing GAD.  These factors are as follows:

– Difficulties in childhood
– Serious illness
– Extreme stress
– Certain personality types

Treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD is usually treated in one of two ways.  The first is medication and the second is psychotherapy.  Sometimes the two treatments are combined.  Usually the treatment for a certain patient is through trying out different treatments to see what works the best for that patient.

Common medications used include anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.  Medication does not always work everyone and sometimes is not enough to completely treat GAD.

Psychotherapy or counseling is often used to help get to the root of the problem and uncover the reasons for the anxiety. Behavioral therapy may help some patients to overcome situations that make their GAD worse.

Through good treatment and on-going treatment a person with GAD can usually live a normal life without the GAD taking over.

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