Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Introduction to Anxiety
Generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD) is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can't stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school. In people with GAD, the worry is often unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person's thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities, and relationships.
What Are the Symptoms of GAD?
GAD affects the way a person thinks, but the anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, as well. Symptoms of GAD can include:
In addition, people with GAD often have other anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias), suffer from depression, and/or try to self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol.
What Causes GAD?
The exact cause of GAD is not fully known, but a number of factors -- including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stresses -- appear to contribute to its development.