Generalized anxiety disorder produces a range of psychological and physical symptoms that can interfere with a persons ability to function. The hallmark of the disorder is excessive concern over at least two different issues that lasts for six months or longer Table 02. The characteristic anxiety of GAD often results in physical complaints such as muscle tension, headaches, and a rapid heartbeat. Patients may find it hard to get a good nights sleep, which may cause irritability and fatigue. Those with GAD are often jumpy or shaky, and say that they feel “on edge.” Some have difficulty concentrating, and become exhausted easily.
Table 2. Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Psychological Physical Worry that is disproportionate to the situation; for example, a feeling of dread or unease when planning a meal or making a phone callWorry that is hard to controlDisturbed sleepRestlessness, irritability, feeling ?on edge?Difficulty concentrating FlushingChillsDizzinessChest pain, palpitations, or tachycardiaHyperventilationChokingRapid heartbeatMuscle tensionHeadachesFatigueDry mouthVomitingDiarrheaNauseaIncreased need to urinate
Although GAD can strike a person at any point in life, its origins are often traced to youth. Many adults with GAD report having had excessive fears as a child, or experiencing social inhibition during their teenage years.
Women are more likely than men to have GAD.
There appears to be a genetic component to GAD. People who have a first-degree relative with GAD are more likely to suffer from GAD themselves.
- Alcohol and AntidepressantsThe dos and don'ts of drinking when you take antidepressants are mostly don'ts.
- Antidepressant Treatment TimelineYou can expect to feel some relief from depression symptoms as early as the first week, but the full response could take months.
- Medications to Avoid While on AntidepressantsCould your antidepressant interact with something else you're taking?