Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experience anxiety over seemingly minor causes and in many situations. Rather than describing their anxiety as "an attack," they experience it in a generalized fashion.
GAD is diagnosed when a person
- Suffers anxiety for more than 6 months
- Anxiety is out of range for situation
- Can’t relax,
- Startle easily, and
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep problems
Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include
- Muscle tension
- Having to go to the bathroom frequently
- Feeling out of breath
- Hot flashes
Some people with GAD can hold down a job and function normally in some situations. Others, where symptoms are severe, cannot live a normal life.
GAD affects about 6.8 million adult Americans and about twice as many women as men. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age.
Self help efforts for GAD are the same as for all other kinds of anxiety. (More here when we complete the section on Anxiety Self Help.)
Other anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse often accompany GAD, which rarely occurs alone. GAD is commonly treated with medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy, but co-occurring conditions must also be treated using the appropriate therapies. If anxiety is the result of Trauma, at Bill Jacobs LPCC, we use EMDR.