Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Medical Author: Michael J. Peterson, MD, PhD
  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideAnxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures

Anxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures

Is it possible to prevent anxiety?

Just as inhibited temperament, parental anxiety, and family and friends supporting avoidant coping mechanisms are risk factors for developing an anxiety disorder, encouraging the use of healthier ways to deal with stress can be of great help in the prevention of anxiety. Educating parents on how anxiety fits into their understanding of childhood development and the role of overprotecting parents in developing anxiety disorders have been found to help prevent anxiety disorders in children. Maintaining a regular exercise program can be key to minimizing and perhaps preventing anxiety.

What is the prognosis of generalized anxiety disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder can be quite chronic, in that the average length of time the illness lasts is 20 years if untreated. It can significantly interfere with the lives of individuals who have it and usually requires treatment for it to resolve. Therefore, people with generalized anxiety disorder are usually thought to need treatment for at least a year to prevent its recurrence.

Are there support groups for those with generalized anxiety disorder?

The following are examples of support groups for anxiety disorders:

ABIL, Inc. (Agoraphobics Building Independent Lives)

A.I.M. (Agoraphobics in Motion)

Association for Anxiety and Depression in America (ADAA) has an online listing of support groups by region:

Freedom From Fear

Phobics Anonymous

Where can people find additional information on generalized anxiety disorder?

Reliable information about GAD, other anxiety disorders and psychiatric diagnoses can be found at

  • National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI),
  • National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH).

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American Counseling Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

National Anxiety Foundation
3135 Custer Dr.
Lexington, KY 40517-4001

National Association of Social Workers

National Mental Health Association

National Panic/Anxiety Disorder News, Inc.


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Amir N, Beard C, Cobb M, Bomyea J. Attention modification program in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 2009 February; 118(1): 28-33.

Arehart-Treichel J. Anxiety symptoms linked to women's cardiac events. Psychiatric News 2009 December; 44(24): 26-37.

Arehart-Treichel J. Extended GAD treatment keeps relapse rates low. Psychiatric News 2011 February; 46(3): 24.

Baldwin D, Woods R, Lawson R, Taylor D. Efficacy of drug treatments for generalized anxiety disorder: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal 2011 March; 342.

Ballenger JC, Davidson JRT, Lecrubier Y, Nutt DJ, et al. Consensus statement on generalized anxiety disorder from the international consensus group on depression and anxiety. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2001; 62(suppl 11): 53-58.

Beesdo K, Knappe S, Pine DS. Anxiety and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents: developmental issues and implications for DSM-V. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2009 September; 32(3): 483-524.

Blumenthal H, Leen-Feldner EW, Babson KA, Gahr JL, Trainor CD, Frala JL. Elevated social anxiety among early maturing girls. Developmental Psychology 2011 July; 47(4): 1133-1140.

Bystritsky A, Kerwin L, Feusner JD, Vapnik T. A pilot controlled trial of buproprion XL vs. escitalopram in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Pscychopharmacology Bulletin 2008; 41(1): 1-9.

Cuthbert B. Early prevention in childhood anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry 2010; 167:1428-1430.

Fava M, Asnis GM, Shrivastava R, Lydiard B, et al. Zolpidem extended-release improves sleep and next-day symptoms in comorbid insomnia and generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 2009 June; 29(3): 222-230.

Flint A, Peasley-Miklus C, Papademetriou E, et al. Effect of age on the frequency of anxiety disorders in major depression with psychotic features. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2010 May; 18 (5): 404-412.

Grant BF, Hasin DS, Blanco C, Stinson FS, et al. The epidemiology of social anxiety disorder in the United States: results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2005 November; 66(11): 1351-1361.

Hammond DC. Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety- and stress-related disorders. Expert Review of Neurotherapy 2010 February; 10(2): 263-273.

Herring MP, O'Connor PJ, Dishman RK. The effect of exercise training on anxiety symptoms among patients: a systemic review. Archives of Internal Medicine 2010 February; 170(4): 321-331.

Johnson JG, Cohen P, Pine DS, et al. Association between cigarette smoking and anxiety disorders during adolescence and early adulthood. Journal of the American Medical Association 2000; 284: 2348-2351.

Kalra SK, Swedo SE. Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder: are they just "little adults?" Journal of Clinical Investigation 2009; 119(4): 737-746.

Merikangas KR, He JP, Brody D, Fisher PW, et al. Prevalence and treatment of mental disorders among U.S. children in the 2001-2004 NHANES. Pediatrics 2010 January; 125(1): 75-81.

McLaughlin KA, Hatzenbuehler ML. Stressful life events, anxiety sensitivity, and internalizing symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 2009 August; 118(3): 659-669.

Nasreen HE, Kabir ZN, Forsell Y, Edhborg M. Low birth weight in offspring of women with depressive and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy: results from a population based study in Bangladesh. Biomed Central Public Health 2010; 10: 515.

Pande AC, Pollack MH, Crockatt J, Greiner M, Chouinard G, et al. Placebo-controlled study of gabapentin treatment of panic disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 2000 August; 20(4): 467-471.

Piacentini J, Roblek T. Recognizing and treating childhood anxiety disorders. Western Journal of Medicine 2002 May; 176(3): 149-151.

Pincus DB, May JE, Whitton SW, Mattis SG, Barlow DH. Cognitive-behavioral treatment of panic disorder in adolescence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 2010 Sep; 39(5): 638-49.

Rapee RM. The development and modification of temperamental risk for anxiety disorders: prevention of a lifetime of anxiety? Biological Psychiatry 2002 November; 52(10): 947-957.

Rickels K, Pollack MH, Sheehan DV, Haskins JT. Efficacy of extended-release venlafaxine in nondepressed outpatients with generalized anxiety disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry 2000; 157: 968-974.

Saeed SA, Bloch RM, Antonacci DJ. Herbal and dietary supplements for treatment of anxiety disorders. American Family Physician 2007 Aug 15; 76(4): 549-56.

Soto JA, Dawson-Andoh NA, BeLue R. The relationship between perceived discrimination and generalized anxiety disorder among African Americans, Afro Caribbeans and non-Hispanic Whites. Journal of Anxiety Disorders 2011 March; 25(2): 258-265.

Trivedi JK, Gupta PK. An overview of Indian research in anxiety disorders. Indian Journal of Psychiatry 2010; 52(7): 210-218.

White SW, Ollendick T, Scahill L, Oswald D, Albano AM. Preliminary efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral treatment program for anxious youth with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2009 June.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/7/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Depression Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors