An Overview of GAD
Part 1 Symptoms
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is more than the normal anxiety people experience day to day. It’s chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, even though nothing seems to provoke it.
This is a series on GAD, focusing on Symptoms, Treatment, Medication, and more.
Having this disorder means always anticipating disaster, often worrying excessively about health, money, family, or work. Sometimes, though, the source of the worry is hard to pinpoint.
Simply the thought of getting through the day provokes anxiety.
While most people develop GAD during Childhood or adolescence, I didn’t notice symptoms until early adulthood. Within a short period, it became debilitating. I developed routines, that didn’t make any logical sense, but they calmed to a degree, but those routines were not based in reality
They were magical in a sense, and accordingly they began to wane in effectiveness. Now I was naked against fighting mono y mono against anxiety. I lost.
It eventually led to Psychiatry visits, and different types of psycotherapy. None of it worked.
Medication was my answer. It was effective and arrested my anxiety and finally erased those racing thoughts, those incredible feelings of being hyper self conscious.
In retrospect, I reflect to my adolescence as the beginning. I can clearly see that during this period I was developing unhealthy habits, or routines to cope. It didn’t really dawn on me until later, when I moved out on my own.
People with GAD can’t seem to shake their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants — that it’s irrational.
People with GAD also seem unable to relax. They often have trouble falling or staying asleep.
Their worries are accompanied by physical symptoms, especially trembling, twitching, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, sweating, or hot flashes. They may feel lightheaded or out of breath.
They may feel nauseated or have to go to the bathroom frequently. Or they might feel as though they have a lump in the throat.
Many individuals with GAD startle more easily than other people. They tend to feel tired, have trouble concentrating, and sometimes suffer depression, too.
If severe, GAD can be very debilitating, making it difficult to carry out even the most ordinary daily activities.
It’s diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worried excessively about a number of everyday problems.
Specific Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
The person finds it difficult to control the worry.
The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months; children do not need to meet as many criteria–only 1 is needed).
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)
The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
My next post will focus on Treatment