The key feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is excessive worry.
Everyone worries to some degree at some point about something in their lives. However, the worry experienced by individuals with GAD is clearly out of proportion to the actual likelihood or impact of the feared event. The worry is longstanding.
Themes of worry may include health, finances, job responsibilities, safety of one’s children or even being late for appointments. The worry is difficult to control and interferes with the task at hand. For example, students may find it difficult to get their schoolwork done and parents often describe difficulty letting their child get on the school bus. These feelings of worry and dread are accompanied by physical symptoms such as pain from muscle tension, headache, frequent urination, difficulty swallowing, “lump in the throat” or exaggerated startle response.
For some people this chronic anxiety and worry have become the standard approach taken to all situations and health experts recognize this condition as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. While the exact cause for GAD is uncertain, experts feel that it’s a combination of biological factors and life events. It’s not uncommon for some people with GAD to also have other medical disorders such as depression and/or panic disorder . These may be influenced by the activity certain chemicals systems in the brain.
Hauser, J. (2006). What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 10, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-generalized-anxiety-disorder/00070
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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