What Does It Mean to Have ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder’?

Generalized AnxietyGeneralized anxiety disorder is an anxiety condition that is characterized by pervasive worry with no specific cause. Though a person who has generalized anxiety may focus his or her worries on a particular aspect of life, there is usually a range of topics which cause the person to feel distressed and anxious.

People who have generalized anxiety disorder may think obsessively about potential health issues, financial problems, and relationship troubles. While healthy people often contemplate these subjects, people with GAD fret over them exhaustively and are likely to be just as worried even when they don’t have issues in any of these areas.

A person who has generalized anxiety disorder feels anxiety so constantly that it interferes with different aspects of his or her life. This can cause difficulties at work or in relationships. It can also keep someone from taking risks or trying new things.

Constant, persistent anxiety can also make a person more likely to eat unhealthy foods, forgo exercise, and sleep less. These factors can combine to create long-term health issues such as high blood pressure and obesity.

According to an article by Dr. Schopick, a psychiatrist, “feeling anxious is a regular state of mind” for people who have generalized anxiety disorder. Dr. Schopick also describes how generalized anxiety can manifest in children and teens in their school performance and overall behavior.

An article by Professors by Tyrer and Baldwin provides an in-depth look at generalized anxiety disorder.

The article by Tyrer and Baldwin cites some physical symptoms that come with generalized anxiety including “hot flushes or cold chills, numbness or tingling, muscle tension or aches and pains, restlessness and inability to relax, sensation of lump in throat (difficulty swallowing).”

Tyrer and Baldwin also go over which short- and long-term treatments are available for people who have generalized anxiety disorder. They state that while recovery from GAD is not always guaranteed, certain methods can be effective in managing symptoms. The preferences of the person being treated should be taken into account. While some people seem to respond better to drug therapy, others find that they benefit from some form of talk therapy. Other people with GAD see the most improvement from a combination of drug and talk therapy, although Tyrer and Baldwin were unable to provide a definitive answer for whether combination therapy is the most effective based on the information they analyzed.

The researchers note that people who have generalized anxiety as well as other psychological conditions may need more intensive treatment than those who only have GAD.

If you want to know more about GAD, please see the links to the articles referred to in the text.

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