When worry gets out of control. Discover now all about generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). All anxiety treatments, medicines and therapies.
What's Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Definition of generalized anxiety disorder:
People with GAD experience long-term constant anxiety and worry about many parts of their life. They feel helpless to control this worrying. The anxiety and worry prevent them from functioning normally with family and friends, at work, at school, or in other ways. It is common that people with GAD experience difficulty sleeping, headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, restlessness, or irritability related to their anxiety. People with GAD are at increased risk for substance abuse (including alcohol), depression, and suicide.
Who suffer generalized anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems in the United States. There are several types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
What causes generalized anxiety disorder?
GAD sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it, while others don’t. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.
What are the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder?
A person with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may:
- Worry very much about everyday things
- Have trouble controlling their constant worries
- Know that they worry much more than they should
- Not be able to relax
- Have a hard time concentrating
- Be easily startled
- Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Feel tired all the time
- Have headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains
- Have a hard time swallowing
- Tremble or twitch
- Be irritable, sweat a lot, and feel light-headed or out of breath
- Have to go to the bathroom a lot.
How is generalized anxiety disorder treated?
Psychotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder
All anxiety disorders are treated with psychotherapy
. The most common type of psychotherapy is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT involves helping patients to identify their automatic ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that cause anxiety. An important part of CBT is teaching patients different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting so that they experience less fear and anxiety.
Medication for generalized anxiety disorder
The most common medications
used to treat anxiety are medicines also used to treat depression (anti-depressants). Sometimes additional medications are needed. When starting some anti-depressants, patients may have thoughts or make plans to kill themselves (suicidal ideation). It is very important to monitor patients closely during the first few weeks – months of treatment to identify and help patients who are having suicidal ideation. The first line of medication are SSRI or SNRI; the second line: Buspirone