Anxiety disorder, generalized

Other names: GAD

It's normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially if your life is stressful. However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that interfere with day-to-day activities may be a sign of Generalized anxiety disorder.

Generalized anxiety disorder has symptoms that are similar to panic disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety, but they're all different conditions.

Living with Generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge. In many cases, it occurs along with other anxiety or Mood disorders. In most cases, Generalized anxiety disorder improves with medications or talk therapy (psychotherapy). Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills and using relaxation techniques also can help.

SYMPTOMS

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can vary. They may include:

Physical signs and symptoms may include:

There may be times when your worries don't completely consume you, but you still feel anxious even when there's no apparent reason. For example, you may feel intense worry about your safety or that of your loved ones, or you may have a general sense that something bad is about to happen.

Your anxiety, worry or physical symptoms cause you significant distress in social, work or other areas of your life. Worries can shift from one concern to another and may change with time and age.

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in children and teenagers

In addition to the symptoms above, children and teenagers who have Generalized anxiety disorder may have excessive worries about:

A child or teen with Generalized anxiety disorder may also:

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

Some anxiety is normal, but see your doctor if:

Your worries are unlikely to simply go away on their own, and they may actually get worse over time. Try to seek professional help before your anxiety becomes severe — it may be easier to treat early on.

CAUSES

As with many mental health conditions, the exact cause of Generalized anxiety disorder isn't fully understood but it may include genetics as well as other risk factors.

Risk factors

These factors may increase the risk of developing Generalized anxiety disorder:

COMPLICATIONS

Having Generalized anxiety disorder does more than just make you worry. It can: Impair your ability to perform tasks quickly and efficiently because you have trouble concentrating. Take your time and focus from other activities. Sap your energy. Disturb your sleep. Generalized anxiety disorder can also lead to or worsen other mental and physical health conditions such as: Depression (which often occurs with Generalized anxiety disorder). Substance abuse. Trouble sleeping (Insomnia). Digestive or bowel problems. Headaches. Heart-health issues.

Preparing for Your Appointment

You may start by seeing your family doctor. However, you may need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist if you have severe anxiety or if you also have another mental health condition such as Depression.

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What You Can Do

To prepare for your appointment make a list of: Your symptoms including when they occur what seems to make them better or worse and how much they affect your day-to-day activities such as work school relationships. What's causing you stress including major life changes stressful events you've dealt with recently any TraumaTic experiences you've had in the past. Health problems you have both physical conditions mental health issues. All medications you're taking including any vitamins supplements dosages. Questions to ask your doctor.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include: What's the most likely cause of my symptoms? Are there other possible situations psychological issues physical health problems that could be causing worsening my anxiety? Do I need any tests? What treatment do you recommend? Should I see a psychiatrist psychologist another mental health provider? Would medication help? If so is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing? Are there any brochures other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask questions at any time during your appointment.

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What To Expect From Your Doctor

Being ready to answer questions from your doctor reserve time to go over any points want spend more time on. Some questions the doctor may ask include: What are your symptoms? Do your symptoms interfere with daily activities? Have feelings of anxiety been occasional continuous? When did first begin noticing anxiety? Does anything in particular seem trigger anxiety make worse? What if anything seems improve feelings of anxiety? What if physical mental health conditions do have? What TraumaTic experiences had recently past? Do regularly drink alcohol use recreational drugs? Do any blood relatives have anxiety other mental health conditions such as Depression?

Tests And Diagnosis

To help diagnose Generalized anxiety disorder health provider may: Do physical exam look signs that might linked underlying medical condition. Order blood urine tests tests medical condition suspected. Ask detailed questions about symptoms medical history. Use psychological questionnaires help determine diagnosis.

Many experts use criteria listed Diagnostic Statistical Manual Mental Disorders (DSM 5) published American Psychiatric Association diagnose mental conditions. This manual also used insurance companies reimburse treatment.

DSM 5 criteria for Generalized anxiety disorder include: Excessive anxiety worry several events activities most days week least six months. Difficulty controlling feelings worry. At least three following symptoms adults one following children: restlessness fatigue trouble concentrating irritability muscle tension sleep problems. Anxiety worry causes significant distress interferes daily life. Anxiety isn't related another mental health condition panic attacks Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) substance abuse medical condition.

Generalized anxiety disorder often occurs along with other mental health problems which can make diagnosis treatment challenging. Some disorders commonly occur with Generalized anxiety disorder include: Phobias Panic Disorder Depression Substance Abuse PTSD.

TREATMENTs And Drugs

The two main treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder psychotherapy medications. You may benefit most from combination two. It take some trial error discover which treatments work best for you.

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Psychotherapy

Also known talk therapy psychological counseling psychotherapy involves working therapist reduce anxiety symptoms. It can effective treatment Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy one effective forms psychotherapy Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Generally short-term treatment cognitive behavioral therapy focuses teaching specific skills gradually return activities avoided because anxiety. Through this process symptoms improve build initial success.

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Medications

Several types medications used treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder including those below. Talk doctor benefits risks possible side effects. Antidepressants Antidepressants including medications selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) classes first-line medication treatments. Examples antidepressants used treat Anxiety Disorders include escitalopram (Lexapro) duloxetine (Cymbalta) venlafaxine (Effexor XR) paroxetine (Paxil Pexeva). Your doctor also recommend antidepressants. Buspirone An anti-anxiety medication called buspirone may used ongoing basis. As antidepressants typically takes several weeks become fully effective. Benzodiazepines In limited circumstances doctor prescribe one sedatives relief Anxiety Symptoms. Examples include alprazolam (Niravam Xanax) chlordiazepoxide (Librium) diazepam (Valium) lorazepam (Ativan). Benzodiazepines generally used relieving acute Anxiety short-term basis. Because they habit-forming these medications good choice if problems alcohol drug abuse.

Lifestyle And Home Remedies

There's way predict certain will cause someone develop Generalized Anxiety Disorder but take steps reduce impact symptoms experience Anxiety: Get help early Anxiety like many mental health conditions harder treat wait. Keep journal Keeping track personal life help mental health provider identify causing stress seems help feel better. Prioritize issues life reduce Anxiety carefully managing time energy. Avoid unhealthy substance use Alcohol drug use even caffeine nicotine use cause worsen Anxiety. If addicted substances quitting make anxious. If quit own see doctor find treatment program support group help.

Alternative Medicine

Some people interested trying alternative medicine nonconventional approach instead conventional medicine complementary medicine nonconventional approach used along conventional medicine . Several herbal remedies studied treatment Anxiety such listed below research needed fully understand risks benefits. Here's researchers know — don't know: Kava Kava appeared promising treatment Anxiety reports serious liver damage — even short-term use — caused several European countries Canada pull off market. The Food Drug Administration issued warnings banned sales United States. Avoid using kava rigorous safety studies done especially liver problems take medications affect liver. Valerian In studies people used valerian reported less Anxiety Stress studies people reported benefit. Discuss valerian doctor trying it. While generally well-tolerated few case reports people developing liver problems taking preparations containing valerian . If using valerian long time want stop using many authorities recommend its use tapered prevent withdrawal symptoms . Passionflower A small clinical trials suggest passionflower might help Anxiety many commercial products passionflower combined herbs making difficult distinguish unique qualities herb . Passionflower generally considered safe taken directed some studies found cause drowsiness Dizziness confusion . Theanine This amino acid found green tea may found supplements . Preliminary evidence shows theanine make people feel calmer limited evidence helps treat Anxiety .

Before taking herbal remedies supplements talk doctor sure safe won't interact medications take .

Coping And Support

To cope with Generalized Anxiety Disorder here's can do : Stick treatment plan Take medications directed Keep therapy appointments Consistency make big difference especially comes taking medication . Join Anxiety Support Group Here find compassion understanding shared experiences . You find support groups community Internet . Take action Work mental health provider figure 's making anxious address it . Let go Don't dwell past concerns Change let rest take course . Break cycle When feel anxious take brisk walk delve hobby refocus mind away worries . Socialize Don't let worries isolate loved ones enjoyable activities Social interaction caring relationships lessen worries .

QUESTIONS

  1. What is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?

Excessive worrying interfering with daily activities

  1. What are some common symptoms of GAD?

Persistent worrying, inability to relax, muscle tension

  1. How does GAD affect children and teenagers differently?

Excessive worries about school performance

  1. When should someone see a doctor regarding their anxiety?

When it interferes with daily life

  1. What are some risk factors for developing GAD?

Genetics and personality traits

  1. How is GAD diagnosed by healthcare providers?

Through physical exams and psychological questionnaires

  1. What are the main treatments for GAD?

Psychotherapy and medications

  1. How can lifestyle changes help manage GAD symptoms?

Avoiding unhealthy substances and seeking early help

9.What alternative medicines are sometimes used for GAD?

Herbal remedies like kava and valerian

10.How can individuals cope with GAD on a daily basis?

Sticking to treatment plans and joining support groups