Generalized anxiety disorders, also known as GAD is characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry. Pathological worry is distinguished from non-pathological worry on the basis of the frequency, intensity, and duration of the worry; the individual’s ability to control the worry; and whether the worry significantly interferes with functioning. In addition, non-pathological worry is less likely to be accompanied by the physiological symptoms that are present with pathological worry.
A. Excessive anxiety and worry (anxious expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).
B. The person finds it difficult to control the worry.
C. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months). Note:
Only one item is required in children.
(1) restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
(2) being easily fatigued
(3) difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
(5) muscle tension
(6) sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)
D. The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of an Axis I disorder, e.g., the anxiety or worry is not about having a Panic Attack (as in Panic Disorder), being embarrassed in public (as in Social Phobia), being contaminated (as in Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder), being away from home or close relatives (as in Separation Anxiety Disorder), gaining weight (as in Anorexia Nervosa), having multiple physical complaints (as in Somatization Disorder), or having a serious illness (as in Hypochondriasis), and the anxiety and worry do not occur exclusively during Post traumatic Stress Disorder.
E. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
F. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism) and does not occur exclusively during a Mood Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
Yes there's a difference. People with GAD experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. They don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants.
General anxiety serves as the body’s warning system—the brain’s way of telling the body that something bad could happen;stay alert and protect yourself.
Treatments for generalized anxiety disorders fall into two main categories: psycho-pharmacological and psychological. Both types have been found effective. A combination of medication and therapy may also be effective. Also, people are turning to herbal remedies to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
The majority of psychoactive medications prescribed for clients with GAD are benzodiazepines, azapirones (especially buspirone), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs; e.g., imipramine), and selective serotonin–nor-epinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (e.g., venlafaxine). Anti-psychotic medications are also prescribed for generalized anxiety disorders.
Many forms of psychological treatment have been applied to GAD, including psychoanalytic, brief supportive–expressive psycho-dynamic, supportive–expressive, and client-centered therapies; eye movement desensitization and reprocessing; electroencephalographic alpha and theta neurofeedback training; and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT, however, is the only form of psychological treatment for GAD that has been repeatedly subjected to rigorous, well-controlled treatment outcome research.
Yes, there is. Scientific evidence is growing about alternative treatment such as
herbal remedies for anxiety, which is an approach to health care that
exists outside conventional medicine. Kava and valerian root has been successful in reducing the effects of anxiety disorders.
The decision about treatment for generalized anxiety disorders is based on your needs and preferences. Discuss your options with a professional who is familiar with your diagnosis and overall health.