Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by an individual’s struggle to manage excessive worry regarding various events or activities, significantly disrupting daily functioning.

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can include:

  • Continuous anxiety regarding multiple aspects of life that exceeds the actual significance of events or circumstances. For example, an individual may fret about failing grades despite consistently achieving top marks, or worry about losing their job despite holding a secure position with the same company for two decades.
  • Catostrophizing and overthinking to worst-case scenarios or outcomes
  • Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t
  • Difficulty handling the unknown and uncertainty
  • Indecisiveness
  • Fear of making the wrong decision so often no decision is made at all
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty
  • Inability to calm self or redirect self to mitigate anxiety
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating or multitasking

Physical symptoms may include:

  • Irritability
  • Picking at skin, hair and/or nails
  • Trouble sleeping, especially falling asleep or waking up too early
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches (clenching jaw)
  • Trembling, feeling twitchy or blinking eyes
  • Quick to become startled (easily “spooked”)
  • Inability to stay seated or always moving body (tapping fingers, shaking leg)
  • Sweating or flush face and/or arms
  • Nausea, diarrhea, frequent urination or irritable bowel syndrome

At times, the anxiety may not be overwhelming, but a persistent baseline of worry persists without any clear cause. For instance, an individual may harbor a belief that something negative is imminent (e.g., “when is the shoe going to drop?”), or fear that a loved one will experience tragedy. Worries often fluctuate from one concern to another and can evolve over the course of one’s life.


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