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Generalized Anxiety Disorder


GAD involves excessive, unrealistic worry that lasts six months or more; in adults, the anxiety may focus on issues such as health, money, college, family, relationships, or career. In addition to worry, GAD symptoms may include aches and pains, poor sleep, abdominal or bowel and bladder problems, dizziness, and irritability. The essential characteristic of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive uncontrollable worry about everyday things. This constant worry affects daily functioning and can cause physical symptoms. GAD can occur with other anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or substance abuse. GAD is often difficult to diagnose because it lacks some of the dramatic symptoms, such as unprovoked Panic Attacks seen with other anxiety disorders; for a diagnosis, worry must be present more days than not for at least 6 months.


The focus of GAD worry can shift, usually focusing on issues like job, finances, health of both self and family; but it can also include issues such as, chores, car repairs and being late for appointments. The intensity, duration and frequency of the worry are disproportionate to the issue and interfere with the sufferer's performance of tasks and ability to concentrate. Physical symptoms may often include any of the following: muscle tension, sweating, nausea, cold or clammy hands, difficulty swallowing, jumpiness, gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea.


GAD may impair relationships. Sufferers tend to be irritable and complain about feeling on edge, are easily tired and have trouble sleeping.



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