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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an exaggerated anxiety and tension that persists for months on end and affects approximately 6.8 million Americans or about 3.1 percent of the population. Generalized Anxiety Disorder causes people to anticipate catastrophe and worry excessively about so many things, from overarching concerns such as health, money and work to more routine concerns such as care repairs, home maintenance or appointments. Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects twice as many women as it does men, and the anxiety becomes so severe that normal life and relationships become impaired. Worries can be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle tension and aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, restlessness, hot flashes and sleep disturbances. Generalized Anxiety Disorder usually develops gradually and may begin anytime during life, although the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. It is diagnosed when someone spends at least six months worrying excessively without a specific focus of the fear and an inability to control the anxiety. Physical and Psychological evaluations are performed by Doctors to rule out other causes for the symptoms of anxiety. Cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, menopause, substance abuse and/or drug side effects, such as from steroids which may cause symptoms similar to those of anxiety disorder. We all worry from time to time, talking to ourselves about different ways in which things could go wrong, but are usually able to control worry if we need to focus on something else. Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder report being unable to stop worrying and data from experimental tasks confirms that they do indeed find it harder to control worry than matched high worries without a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (Hirsch, Hayes, Mathews, Perman, & Borkovec, 2012).



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