Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Unlike normal feelings of anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is associated with uncontrollable worrying about family, finances, health, and other everyday problems. This chronic anxiety is uncontrollable and often occurs even when the person knows there is no reason to be concerned.

Although researchers do not know the exact cause of GAD, there are a number of factors that can lead to the development of this disorder. Family history of anxiety, stress, excessive caffeine or tobacco use, childhood abuse, and certain health problems are all common factors. Symptoms are most likely to start in young adulthood, but it can also affect children and teens. GAD is also more common in women.

Symptoms for GAD vary widely, but constant worrying is prevalent in most people with this disorder. Common signs and symptoms may include believing a situation is more threatening than it is, trouble concentrating, irritability, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, chronic stomach aches or gastrointestinal issues, and muscle tension. People with GAD may also experience excessive sweating, rapid heart rate, and numbness or tingling.

GAD is usually treated with medications and talk therapy. Lifestyle changes, including getting more sleep, practicing yoga or meditation, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine, can also help control worrying.