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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Also called: GAD

Severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities.

Very common

More than 3 million US cases per year

  • Treatable by a medical professional
  • Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
  • Requires a medical diagnosis
  • Lab tests or imaging not required

Generalized anxiety disorder can occur at any age.

The condition has symptoms similar to panic disorder, obsessive­compulsive disorder, and other types of anxiety. These symptoms include constant worry, restlessness, and trouble with concentration.

Treatment may include counseling and medications, such as antidepressants.

Ages affected

Symptoms

Requires a medical diagnosis

The condition has symptoms similar to panic disorder, obsessive­compulsive disorder, and other types of anxiety. These symptoms include constant worry, restlessness, and trouble with concentration.

People may experience:

Pain areas: in the back
Whole body: fatigue, lightheadedness, or sweating
Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness
Psychological: severe anxiety, fear, or repeatedly going over thoughts
Cognitive: lack of concentration or unwanted thoughts
Also common: emotional distress, excessive worry, difficulty falling asleep, headache, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Treatments

Treatment consists of therapy

Treatment may include counseling and medications, such as antidepressants.

Medications

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI): Eases symptoms of depressed mood and anxiety.

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, and Prozac Weekly)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva, and Paxil CR)

Anxiolytic: Relieves anxiety and tension. May promote sleep.

  • Buspirone

Antidepressant: Prevents or relieves depression and elevates mood.

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta and lrenka)

Self-care

Physical exercise: Aerobic activity for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health. If injured, pursuing an activity that avoids the injured muscle group or joint can help maintain physical function while recovering.
Stress management: Pursuing an enjoyable activity or verbalizing frustration to reduce stress and improve mental health.
Relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, rhythmic exercise, and other activities that reduce symptoms of stress

Therapies

Mindfulness therapies: The act of turning your attention internally to help manage physical and mental symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy: A talk therapy focused on modifying negative thoughts, behaviors, and emotional responses associated with psychological distress.
Mindfulness: The act of turning your attention internally to help manage physical and mental symptoms.
Psychoanalysis: Uses psychotherapy to treat mental disorders.
Psychotherapy: Treatment of mental or behavioral disorders through talk therapy.

Specialists

Psychiatrist: Treats mental disorders primarily with medications.
Pediatrician: Provides medical care for infants, children, and teenagers.
Primary care provider (PCP): Prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases. Geriatrician: Focuses on the health care of elderly people.
Clinical psychologist: Treats mental disorders primarily with talk therapy.

Consult a doctor for medical advice
Note: The information you see describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn’t apply to everyone. This information isn’t medical advice, so make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem. If you think you may have a medical

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