What Is General Anxiety Disorder

What Is The Outlook For Gad

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – causes, symptoms & treatment

Most people gain substantial relief from their symptoms with proper treatment. Symptoms can come and go, such as during stressful times. So itâs important to stick to your treatment plan, which may include therapy, lifestyle habits, and medication. If anxiety symptoms flare up, reach out to your support team, including your doctor or therapist.

What Does Gad Feel Like In The Body

Although the main symptom of GAD is worry, most people first notice the discomfort they feel in their bodies, rather than the worrisome thoughts. In fact, many people with GAD will visit their family doctors because of their physical discomfort, and they often will not even mention that they worry excessively.

Some of the physical feelings that worry can lead to are:

  • Physical feelings of anxiety
  • Feeling fidgety, restless or unable to sit still
  • Feeling irritable, getting easily upset, snapping at people for minor reasons
  • Sleep problems: this can include having a hard time falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or having a restless and unsatisfying sleep
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating
  • Being easily fatigued

Seeking Professional Help For Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Health professionals who can help treat GAD include psychologists, psychiatrists and general practitioners .

Treatments that are helpful for alleviating GAD include a variety of psychological therapies and medications. A combination of cognitive behaviour therapy, anxiety management techniques and improving physical wellness has been found to be successful in bringing generalised anxiety disorder under the person’s control.

Medication is sometimes used to relieve anxiety symptoms however, if it is used, it is generally only recommended as a short-term measure.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if your self-help strategies don’t seem to be working for you.

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What Causes Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Risk for GAD can run in families. Several parts of the brain and biological processes play a key role in fear and anxiety. By learning more about how the brain and body function in people with anxiety disorders, researchers may be able to develop better treatments. Researchers have also found that external causes, such as experiencing a traumatic event or being in a stressful environment, may put you at higher risk for developing GAD.

Emotional Symptoms Of Gad Include:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): 9 Signs, Diagnosis, FAQs
  • Constant worries running through your head
  • Feeling like your anxiety is uncontrollable there is nothing you can do to stop the worrying
  • Intrusive thoughts about things that make you anxious you try to avoid thinking about them, but you can’t
  • An inability to tolerate uncertainty you need to know what’s going to happen in the future
  • A pervasive feeling of apprehension or dread

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Is Anxiety Rising Among Youth

Anxiety seems to be on the rise among children and teenagers. The percentage of those 6 to 17 years old who have been diagnosed with anxiety increased from 5.5 percent in 2007 to 6.4 percent in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research from 2021 suggests that 20 percent of children and adolescents have experienced clinically elevated symptoms of anxiety. Many factors may be contributing to the rise in youth anxiety, such as intense pressure and expectations, overprotective parenting, social media, and shifting definitions of mental illness.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder In Adults

People with Generlized Anxiety Disorder worry excessively and uncontrollably about daily life events and activities. They often experience uncomfortable physical symptoms, including fatigue and sore muscles, and they can also have trouble sleeping and concentrating.

What does worry look like?

Worry involves thoughts about negative events that might happen in the future. It usually begins as a what if question:

  • What if Im caught in traffic and late for work? My boss might be angry with me and he might even fire me. What if I cant find another job and my friends and family think Im a failure?
  • I have to buy new curtains for the kitchen: What if I buy curtains and then find better or cheaper ones later on? What if I buy new furniture at some point and the curtains I bought dont match the furniture?
What is excessive and uncontrollable worry?

Obviously, everybody worries from time to time. This is normal. But worry becomes a problem when it happens almost every day, and becomes excessive and uncontrollable. What this means is that people with GAD worry too much, they worry more than others would, and they find it hard to stop worrying once they start. Some good questions to ask yourself if you think you might have GAD include:

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Whats The Difference Between Typical Worrying And Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Everyone experiences occasional bouts of anxiety anxiety can even be healthy because it has the power to focus attention or motivate people to take action. Anxiety becomes a disorder, however, when worry becomes excessive and disrupts the ability to function daily. For example, if anxiety consistently prevents someone from concentrating and being able to complete their tasks at work, that may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Tip : Learn To Calm Down Quickly

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

While socially interacting with another person face-to-face is the quickest way to calm your nervous system, it’s not always realistic to have a friend close by to lean on. In these situations, you can quickly self-soothe and relieve anxiety symptoms by making use of one or more of your physical senses:

Sight Look at anything that relaxes you or makes you smile: a beautiful view, family photos, cat pictures on the Internet.

Sound Listen to soothing music, sing a favorite tune, or play a musical instrument. Or enjoy the relaxing sounds of nature : ocean waves, wind through the trees, birds singing.

Smell Light scented candles. Smell the flowers in a garden. Breathe in the clean, fresh air. Spritz on your favorite perfume.

Taste Slowly eat a favorite treat, savoring each bite. Sip a hot cup of coffee or herbal tea. Chew on a stick of gum. Enjoy a mint or your favorite hard candy.

Touch Give yourself a hand or neck massage. Cuddle with a pet. Wrap yourself in a soft blanket. Sit outside in the cool breeze.

Movement Go for a walk, jump up and down, or gently stretch. Dancing, drumming, and running can be especially effective.

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Treatment For Generalized Anxiety Disorder

If you’ve given self-help a fair shot, but still can’t seem to shake your worries and fears, it may be time to see a mental health professional. But remember that professional treatment doesn’t replace self-help. In order to control your GAD symptoms, you’ll still want to make lifestyle changes and look at the ways you think about worrying

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one type of therapy that is particularly helpful in the treatment of GAD. CBT examines distortions in our ways of looking at the world and ourselves. Your therapist will help you identify automatic negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety. For example, if you catastrophizealways imagining the worst possible outcome in any given situationyou might challenge this tendency through questions such as, What is the likelihood that this worst-case scenario will actually come true? and What are some positive outcomes that are more likely to happen?.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: When Worry Gets Out Of Control

Do you often find yourself worrying about everyday issues for no obvious reason? Are you always waiting for disaster to strike or excessively worried about things such as health, money, family, work, or school?

If so, you may have a type of anxiety disorder called generalized anxiety disorder . GAD can make daily life feel like a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. The good news is GAD is treatable. Learn more about the symptoms of GAD and how to find help.

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How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Related To Anxiety Disorders

Some people feel the effects of stress in their stomachs. People with IBS have uncomfortable problems with digestion, including stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. They also frequently have anxiety and depression, which can make symptoms worse.

The connection between IBS and anxiety comes from the nervous system partly controlling the colon. The nervous systems response to stress may affect the stomach. Among people who get treated for IBS, anywhere from 50% to 90% may also have an anxiety disorder or depression. Treatment for IBS may include stress management and psychotherapy to relieve symptoms.

What Are Anxiety Disorders

Common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms · Mango Clinic

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention. Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.

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Official Criteria For Gad

Based on criteria from the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

  • Excessive or unrealistic anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities. The anxiety and worry occurs more days than not and has lasted at least six months.
  • The person finds it difficult to control or turn off the worry.
  • The worry is associated with at least three of the following six symptoms, more days than not, for at least six months:
  • feeling restless, keyed up, or on edge
  • feeling tired frequently
  • difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
    • The worry is not exclusively related to another psychological problem . If another psychological problem is present, there must be significant worry about things unrelated to the other problem.
    • The individuals worry or anxiety causes significant distress or significant interference in the persons day-to-day life. For example, the worry may make it difficult for the person to perform important tasks at work, interfere with relationships, or get in the way of sleep.
    • The worry and anxiety are not simply due to a substance or medical condition .

    Psychotherapy And Relaxation Therapies

    Psychotherapy includes many different approaches, such as cognitive behavior therapy and applied relaxation .33,34 CBT may use applied relaxation, exposure therapy, breathing, cognitive restructuring, or education. Psychotherapy is as effective as medication for GAD and PD.11 Although existing evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions about many psychotherapeutic interventions, structured CBT interventions have consistently proven effective for the treatment of anxiety in the primary care setting.34â36 Psychotherapy may be used alone or combined with medication as first-line treatment for PD37 and GAD,11 based on patient preference. Psychotherapy should be performed weekly for at least eight weeks to assess its effect.


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    Talking To A Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health

    Communicating well with a health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Find tips to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit at Taking Control of Your Mental Health: Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider. For additional resources, including questions to ask a provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.

    If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

    What Do People With Gad Worry About

    What is generalized anxiety disorder? (GAD)

    For the most part, people with GAD worry about the same things that others worry about, they just worry more and more often than other people. Some common GAD worries include: Worries about minor matters, such as punctuality and small decisions:

    • What if Im late for my appointment?
    • What if I go see this movie and I dont like it? What if there is a movie that I would like better?

    Worries about work or school, such as exams, performance at work or in class:

    • What if I failed my test?
    • What if I choose the wrong career path?
    • What if I dont finish this report on time?

    Worries about friends and family, such as relationships, getting along with others:

    • What if my parents get divorced?
    • What if my child gets injured while playing hockey?
    • What if I choose an outing for some friends and no one enjoys themselves? What if they blame me for not having a good time?

    Worries about health, such as personal health or the health of loved ones:

    • What if I get cancer or some other serious disease?
    • What if my husband gets into a car accident?

    Worries about the future and the world such as the environment, war in the world

    • What if there is a hurricane in my city?
    • What if in 20 years I dont have enough money to retire?

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    Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator

    This online resource, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , helps you locate mental health treatment facilities and programs. Find a facility in your state by searching SAMHSAs online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.

    Tip : Practice Relaxation Techniques For Gad

    Anxiety is more than just a feeling. It’s the body’s physical fight or flight reaction to a perceived threat. Your heart pounds, you breathe faster, your muscles tense up, and you feel light-headed. When you’re relaxed, the complete opposite happens. Your heart rate slows down, you breathe slower and more deeply, your muscles relax, and your blood pressure stabilizes. Since it’s impossible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time, strengthening your body’s relaxation response is a powerful anxiety-relieving tactic.

    Effective relaxation techniques for relieving anxiety include:

    Deep breathing. When you’re anxious, you breathe faster. This hyperventilation causes symptoms such as dizziness, breathlessness, lightheadedness, and tingly hands and feet. These physical symptoms are frightening, leading to further anxiety and panic. But by breathing deeply from the diaphragm, you can reverse these symptoms and calm yourself down.

    Progressive muscle relaxation can help you release muscle tension and take a time out from your worries. The technique involves systematically tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body. As your body relaxes, your mind will follow.

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    Causes Of Generalised Anxiety Disorder

    Biological, psychological, social and cultural factors all appear to influence the development of GAD. The contributing factors may include:

    • personality research suggests that people who were inhibited or reserved as children may be more likely to develop GAD as adults. Personality traits such as emotional sensitivity and shyness also make worrying more likely
    • learned behaviour our habitual ways of thinking are learned over many years and are influenced by a range of environmental, social and family influences. A tendency to be preoccupied with imaginary worries can train our mind, over time, to habitually worry
    • family anxiety may be inherited and the family environment may influence the development of GAD
    • brain chemistry some research indicates that anxiety is associated with altered brain chemistry. However, it is unclear whether anxiety causes the physical changes or whether the physical changes cause the anxiety.

    Exercise And Managing Generalised Anxiety Disorder

    Anxiety Disorders: Symptoms and Types of Anxiety Attacks

    Exercise is proving to be an effective strategy to help people manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. There are various theories to explain how exercise can lift a person’s mood. These include:

    • altered brain chemicals Queensland researchers have found that regular exercise, and the subsequent increase in physical fitness, alters levels of a brain chemical called serotonin, which leads to improved mood and feelings of wellbeing
    • reduced adrenaline physical activity burns up stress chemicals like adrenaline, which promotes a more relaxed body and mind
    • distraction an enjoyable bout of exercise may be distracting enough to break the vicious cycle of worrying.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    People with GAD may feel restless, tense, or on edge. They may find it hard to focus and have recurring thoughts about a source of worry, such as finances. Physical signs include gastrointestinal disturbances, muscle tension, twitching, trembling, and sweating. They may also have problems sleeping. GAD can also interfere with daily activities, including work or studies.

    How Do People With Gad Act In Daily Life

    Perfectionism: Many adults with GAD are perfectionists. They can spend hours on a simple task, in an attempt to make sure that they have completed it perfectly. This might involve re-reading a school or work assignment repeatedly, or agonizing over small details at work or in the home .

    Intolerance of Uncertainty: People with GAD seem to be allergic to uncertainty. That is, they dont like it when they are not 100% sure of themselves, others, their actions and decisions, or the future. Because of this, they will often engage in tiring and time-consuming behaviours designed to make them feel more certain, including:

    • Excessive reassurance-seeking
    • Information seeking or list making
    • Refusal to delegate to others
    • Avoidance/procrastination. This can include avoiding friendships or new opportunities, and procrastinating as long as possible before completing a task
    • Having others make decisions for you. Because of the uncertainty of making decisions, some people with GAD will hand off the responsibility for decision making to others
    • Distraction/keeping busy. Many people with GAD will try to keep moving all day long in order to keep their minds busy and to avoid worrying. If you are always distracting yourself with other worries, you wont have time to think about all the uncertain things that are coming up in your life. The problem with this strategy is that it is tiring, and the worries and thoughts about uncertainty come back as soon as you try to relax

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