What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder
II. Symptoms of GAD
III. Who gets GAD?
U.S. Statistics on GAD
When does GAD start?
IV. Treatments for GAD
The future of GAD
Living life with less anxiety
Anxiety happens to everyone, at some point in time. In fact, a little anxiety can actually be good for you. It can help you respond appropriately to danger, and it can motivate you to excel at work and home. (www.mayoclinic.com) However, when anxiety becomes so strong that it affects your daily life, it is no longer beneficial. It suddenly becomes a huge burden to you; it is all consuming, overbearing and sometimes very frightening. This is more than likely a case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). People with GAD usually do not need a "trigger" or cause for their anxiety. It seems that it is almost always present, sometimes lying just underneath the surface; at other times, it dominates your every thought, action, and reaction. The sad truth of GAD is that most people diagnosed with it know that their anxiety, usually over non-existent or trivial problems, is unwarranted. However, they cannot control their thoughts or reactions to them.
GAD is defined as an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable, and often irrational worry about everyday things, which is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically catastrophize, anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, family problems, or work difficulties. They often exhibit a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least 6 months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced. (http://en.wikipedia.org)
There are many possible symptoms associated with GAD, both physical and psychological. The physical symptoms of GAD are:
Chest pains, racing heart, palpitations.
Feeling frustrated, impatient, restless, out of breath, lightheaded, nauseous, irritable, or unable to relax.
Difficulty concentrating, falling or staying asleep or swallowing.
Headaches, muscle aches and tension, trembling or twitching, sweating, hot flashes or dry mouth.
Fatigue, grinding of the teeth, a feeling of a lump in the throat, or having to use the restroom often. The psychological symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder are:
Worry goes on all day, possibly every day.
Worrying is beyond the person's control and cannot be "turned off."
Symptoms must go on more often than not for at least six months. The patient does not need to have all of these symptoms to be considered a victim of GAD. In fact, only three of the symptoms are required, as long as they have been consistent for six months. One has no control over whether they experience GAD or not. Generalized Anxiety Disorder can affect people of all ages, countries, and cultures. However, there are certain pre-existing things that can contribute to a diagnosis of GAD. There is evidence that GAD runs in families, and it is widely believed that children can learn fear and anxiety from adults in their lives. (www.helpguide.org) GAD occurs more frequently in people with other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperthyroidism. (www.mayoclinic.com) A large build-up of stress in one's life may also contribute to GAD. Once developed, the disorder is chronic. (www.Wikipedia.org)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder usually has other disorders that occur with it. The most common co-morbidity is depression. Substance abuse and other anxiety disorders are also very common. It is likely that suicide as a co-morbidity to GAD is...
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