Anxiety Disorder

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder go through the day filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke it. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety.

It is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months. People with generalized anxiety disorder can’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes.

When their anxiety level is mild, people with generalized anxiety disorder can function socially and hold down a job. Although they don’t avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder, people with generalized anxiety disorder can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe.

Generalized anxiety disorder affects about 6.8 million adult Americans and about twice as many women as men. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. It is diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months worrying excessively about a number of everyday problems. Other anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse often accompany generalized anxiety disorder, which rarely occurs alone.


Generalized anxiety disorder is commonly treated with psychotherapy (talk) therapy and medication, or neurofeedback, and alpha-stim, but co-occurring conditions must also be treated using the appropriate therapies.

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