Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by 6 months or more of chronic, exaggerated worry and tension that is unfounded or much more severe than the normal anxiety most people experience. People with this disorder usually expect the worst; they worry excessively about money, health, family, or work, even when there are no signs of trouble. They are unable to relax and often suffer from insomnia. Many people with GAD also have physical symptoms, such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headaches, irritability or hot flashes. Fortunately, through research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and by industry, effective treatments have been developed to help people with GAD.
How Common Is GAD?
What Causes GAD?
Some research suggests that GAD may run in families, and it may also grow worse during stress. GAD usually begins at an earlier age and symptoms may manifest themselves more slowly than in most other anxiety disorders.
What Treatments Are Available for GAD?
Treatments for GAD include medications and
cognitive-behavioral therapy. Most cases of anxiety disorder can be treated
successfully by appropriately trained health and mental health care
Can People With GAD Also Have Other Illnesses?
Research shows that GAD often coexists with depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders. Other conditions associated with stress, such as irritable bowel syndrome, often accompany GAD. Patients with physical symptoms such as insomnia or headaches should also tell their doctors about their feelings of worry and tension. This will help the patient's health care provider to recognize that the person is suffering from GAD.
Other Sources of Information
National Anxiety Foundation
The Anxiety Disorders Education Program,
National Institute of Mental Health
Or call 301-443-4513.
Publications and other information are also available online from the NIMH Website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov or by calling toll-free 1-88-88-ANXIETY (1-888-826-9438).
Current Trials in Anxiety Disorders