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What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

While nearly all people suffer from some degree of anxiety at times, someone suffering from generalized anxiety disorder suffers a high degree of anxiety for long stretches of time and experiences associated symptoms like insomnia or fatigue.

Someone with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may worry about things we all worry about like money, health, or family issues, but they tend to worry without interruption and to an intense degree without relief even when the concern is minimal or non-existent in reality. Fortunately, treatment can help relieve symptoms of this disorder so sufferers can enjoy improved mental peace.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: An Overview

Generalized anxiety disorder occasionally runs in families, but there’s no way to determine why some people have it and some don’t. This disorder involves a sense of fear and anxiety that sufferers simply can’t turn off; however, it does often feature an ebb and flow pattern. Even so, it’s not uncommon for people to feel “worried” and anxious for months on end if they suffer from GAD.

GAD affects both men and women and is associated with worry and tension that the sufferer is unable to shake, even when the worries seem irrational to someone else. People suffering from GAD tend to startle easily or feel an impending sense of doom even when the true source of their worry or fear is hard to pinpoint. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 3 million Americans suffer from this condition. GAD affects twice as many women as men.

Symptoms of GAD

People with GAD invariably feel on edge and are preoccupied by their worries. Many sufferers can still go about their daily lives, but sometimes a particularly bad stretch may render working difficult.

Often, people suffering from this mental health condition experience headaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and nausea. The intense worry can lead to trouble concentrating on tasks or other thoughts that are not associated with their worries. Muscle tension and irritability may also accompany GAD.

Treatment for GAD

In most cases, GAD is treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy; although some people may be treated with either without the other. Therapy is aimed at helping the sufferer find strategies for thinking and behaving differently when facing certain situations.

Medical therapies often employ anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants. Even though people with GAD don’t necessarily feel depressed, antidepressants are helpful for soothing these concerns or, rather, helping sufferers keep their worries in perspective so they don’t take over their lives.

Generalized anxiety disorder can take over a person’s like with its relentless fear and anxiety. Sufferers live in perpetual fear and worry. Some many even feel panicked all the time. With treatment, this disorder can be successfully managed so that people regain control of their thoughts and ultimately their lives. If you or your loved one has been dealing with excessive worry and fear for some time, it’s definitely time to contact your healthcare provider for help.