Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a common anxiety disorder that can be incredibly disruptive to a person’s life. It is estimated that over 3% of the adult population in the United States suffer from GAD. Generalized anxiety disorder is considered to be a highly treatable condition. If you or a loved one are suffering from the effects of generalized anxiety disorder, it is essential to seek the help of medical professionals.
Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by a persistent feeling of stress or concern that is excessive for the circumstances. While most people may worry about work or school at times, someone with generalized anxiety disorder will almost always feel stressed about an upcoming event or situation. A person with generalized anxiety disorder will often fixate on areas that most people would never consider stressful.
Someone suffering from generalized anxiety disorder may realize that their level of concern is disproportionate but will be unable to control their emotions. Anxiety over small, meaningless events can be so powerful that it has a negative impact on a person’s life. Someone suffering from generalized anxiety disorder may avoid social situations or opportunities at work or school due to the stress they may feel at the thought of those situations.
The effects of generalized anxiety disorder may often be mild to moderate. Those experiencing mild anxiety will usually be able to live normal lives and function effectively at work or school, although the stress involved may still be uncomfortable. Once symptoms become severe, it may be challenging for a person to go about their day-to-day lives.
The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder often go beyond worry. As someone continues to feel stress over even the smallest situations, they will often have difficulty concentrating on other things or relaxing. Some people will GAD may feel the need to plan out every aspect of their lives to avoid stressful situations or uncertainty.
The effects of stress on the human body and mind can also be detrimental. The constant anxiety caused by GAD can lead to an individual often feeling irritable and restless. They may have difficulty sleeping and feel fatigued often. Generalized anxiety disorder can also cause a person to appear frequently on edge, twitchy, or jumpy.
It is common for someone with an anxiety disorder to suffer from headaches or pain in their muscles or joints. Stomach issues can also occur alongside anxiety disorders, often causing nausea or diarrhea when the levels of stress become too high.
Without treatment, the effects of generalized anxiety disorder can continue to get worse. The constant state of fear can cause a person to feel isolated or depressed. While anxiety disorders are often not taken seriously, the effects can be severe. Someone suffering from an anxiety disorder should always seek a medical professional’s help rather than attempt to deal with the symptoms alone.
The causes of generalized anxiety disorder are not fully understood but are likely based on numerous psychological, environmental, and biological factors. A person’s personality is either a factor in the development of an anxiety disorder or a potential result of one. Someone who is shy or pessimistic is far more likely to have generalized anxiety disorder than someone who is outgoing.
Brain chemistry can play a large role in the risk of developing an anxiety disorder and may be genetic. A person is more likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder if someone in their family also suffered from GAD or another anxiety disorder. While anyone can be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, it is more common among women than men.
Experiences such as trauma or significant changes at a young age could increase the likelihood of developing generalized anxiety disorder. Even when someone is older, a single traumatic event could also result in the development of GAD, although symptoms are more likely to occur at a young age.
The treatment of generalized anxiety disorder should be based on the needs and symptoms of the individual. No one treatment will prove to be equally effective for every person. Instead, a medical professional should take the time to fully understand the symptoms a person has and how they affect their life.
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