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What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

The essential characteristic of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive uncontrollable worry about everyday things. This constant worry affects daily functioning and can cause physical symptoms. GAD can occur with other anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or substance abuse. GAD is often difficult to diagnose because it lacks some of the dramatic symptoms, such as unprovoked Panic Attacks, that are seen with other anxiety disorders; for a diagnosis to be made, worry must be present more days than not for at least 6 months.

The focus of GAD worry can shift, usually focusing on issues like job, finances, health of both self and family; but it can also include more mundane issues such as, chores, car repairs and being late for appointments. The intensity, duration and frequency of the worry are disproportionate to the issue and interferes with the sufferer's performance of tasks and ability to concentrate. Physical symptoms include:

  • Muscle tension;
  • Sweating;
  • Nausea;
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea;
  • Cold, clammy hands;


  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Jumpiness

Sufferers tend to be irritable and complain about feeling on edge, are easily tired and have trouble sleeping.
From: Anxiety Disorders Association of America


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