Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Condition

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

If you worry a lot about a variety of things and can’t seem to stop, you may be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Most people worry occasionally, but people with GAD worry excessively for at least six months or more. Common worries include health, money, jobs or family matters. For people with GAD worry feels uncontrollable and may be accompanied by a sense of doom.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Causes

GAD may be caused by a variety of factors. Evidence suggests that the following play a role in causing GAD:

  • Genetic factors
  • Family upbringing
  • Excessive use of stimulants such as caffeine and tobacco
  • Life experiences, particularly stressful ones

GAD Risk Factors

GAD often occurs in conjunction with other mental health conditions such as depression and phobias. It affects about 3 out of 100 people in the U.S. in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. Although this type of anxiety disorder can begin at any age and may develop gradually, the risk is highest between childhood and middle age.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of GAD are often experienced when feeling stressed with a combination of emotional, behavioral and physical symptoms. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Tension, nervousness
  • Hot flashes
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tingling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Digestive problems
  • Exhaustion

While panic attacks are not a sign of GAD, it’s important to not dismiss the negative effects of a constant worry. Talk to your doctor if the following statements are true:

  1. I have found it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least 6 months.
  2. I have 3 or more related symptoms listed above.

Diagnosis & Treatment for GAD

If you're experiencing signs of generalized anxiety disorder, it can be overwhelming. Mercy's behavioral health experts are here to help.

Learn about GAD diagnosis & treatment options here.  

Don’t dismiss the harmful effects of constant worry. Discuss your symptoms with a Mercy Behavioral Health provider who will develop a treatment plan to help you along the path to healing.

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