Causes and Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Almost forty million people in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders, making it one of the most frequently diagnosed psychological problems in the country. While there are several disorders that can be considered as anxiety disorders, all of them share similar symptoms or intense anxiety, and disruptions in the emotions or moods. Included under the umbrella of this disorders are phobias which is someone intense fear of a specific thing or situation such as flying or spiders and which stimulates a panic attack or intense anxiety in the person. The problem of generalized anxiety disorder or GAD is not related to any specific cause and can trigger feelings or exhaustion, inability to sleep, or other symptoms in its sufferers.When a person suffers for at least a six month period from extreme worry and other typical symptoms, he is diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Other symptoms that go along with this disorder are inability to concentrate, tiring easily, muscle aches, irritability, and insomnia. When this disorder is diagnosed in a child, it’s referred to as overanxious disorder of childhood. What makes GAD different from other disorders of this type is that the anxiety can’t be traced to any one trigger such as social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or panic disorder. The intense anxiety usually is attributable to many different things such as family problems, work, money, or the future which is where the name of the disorder comes from. Common to this disorder are worries about physical health as well as intermittent panic attacks.Women are the dominant sufferers of GAD as it occurs in two women to every one man. About half of the cases of this disorder begin to manifest themselves in childhood or the teenage years. Whenever a person is going through a stressful time in his life, the disorder will be more severe but will tend to decrease slightly when things settle down. A link hasn’t been established between GAD and families. There is a link, however, between first degree relatives of sufferers of generalized anxiety disorder and occurrences of different anxiety and mood disorders.

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