Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Symptoms and More

Generalised Anxiety Disorder in Adults

It is normal for a person to feel anxious or worried from time to time, particularly if their life is stressful. But ongoing, excessive worry and anxiety that are difficult to curb and hinder day-to-day activities might be an indication of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

It is possible to develop this psychological disorder as an adult and even child. GAD has symptoms which are similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and other forms of anxiety, but they are all different conditions.

Living with GAD could be a long-term challenge. Moreover, in many cases, GAD happens along with other mood or anxiety disorders. In the majority of cases, GAD improves with medications or psychotherapy. Using relaxation techniques, learning coping skills and making lifestyle changes also can help.

Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder in Adults

Generalized anxiety disorder can cause both physical and mental symptoms. These vary from individual to individual. GAD affects the way an individual thinks and behaves, and it can cause GAD physical symptoms.

Psychological health professionals utilize a standard criterion to diagnose generalized anxiety disorder. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Problem in concentrating or negative feeling that the mind is going blank
  • Feeling restless, inability to relax and feeling on the edge
  • Inability to let go or set aside worry
  • Worry of making an incorrect decision and indecisiveness
  • Difficulty in handling uncertainty
  • Perceiving events and situations as dangerous, even when they are not
  • Overthinking solutions and plans to all likely worst-case outcomes
  • Persistent anxiety or worrying about various areas which are out of proportion to the overall impact of events

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Some of the physical signs of GAD in adults are irritability, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, sweating, being easily startled, feeling twitchy, trembling, muscle aches, trouble while sleeping and fatigue.

There might be times when your anxiety or worry doesn’t completely overwhelm you, however you still feel worried or nervous even when there is no obvious reason. You may feel worried or anxious about your safety or your loved ones, or you might have a general feeling that something bad or terrible is about to occur.

Worry, anxiety or physiological symptoms of anxiety cause significant distress in work, social or other areas of life. Worry could shift from one area to another and might change with age and time.

What are the Risk Factors and Causes for GAD?

Specialists don’t know the precise causes of GAD. Several things, including environmental stresses, brain chemistry and genetics seem to contribute to generalized anxiety disorder.

Environmental Factors –Trauma along with stressful events like changing schools or jobs, divorce, death of a family member or abuse may contribute to physiological anxiety symptoms. The condition could also aggravate when stress goes out of control. The use and withdrawal from habit-forming substances, including nicotine, caffeine and alcohol could also worsen anxiety.

Brain Chemistry – This can be complicated. GAD has been associated to problems with specific nerve cell pathways which connect particular brain areas involved in emotion and thinking. The nerve cell connections actually depend on chemicals known as neurotransmitters which transmit information from one nerve cell to next.

Nevertheless, if the pathways which connect specific brain areas don’t work well, difficulties related to anxiety or mood may result. Psychotherapies, medicines or other treatments that are believed to work on the neurotransmitters might improve the signalling between the circuits and assist in improving physical symptoms generalized anxiety disorder.

Genetics –Some study indicates that family history in fact plays a role in making it likely that an individual will have GAD. This denotes that the inclination to develop GAD might be passed on to other family members. But no genes of anxiety have been identified. It must be noted that families might also pass the tendency through environment or lifestyle.

How is GAD in Adults Diagnosed?

GAD is diagnosed through mental health screening. A specialized doctor will ask questions about your anxiety attack physical symptomsand how long you have been experiencing them. The physician may also refer you to a trained psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health specialist.

The doctor might also conduct medical tests in order to find out whether there is an underlying substance abuse problem or illness causing the symptoms. Worry or anxiety has been associated to:

  • The use of decongestants, caffeine or albuterol
  • Epilepsy
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Heart disease
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Pheochromocytoma

If the medic suspects that a substance abuse problem or medical condition is causing lightheadedness and anxiety, they might perform more tests. Some of the test may include blood tests to determine hormone levels; urine test to determine substance abuse; stress tests and X-rays to check out for heart conditions; endoscopy procedure to check for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Can Anxiety Make You Feel Sick?

Many studies have found that anxiety attacks can make a person feel sick. An individual suffering from GAD may experience headache or fear, which will make them feel sick. They may also feel dizziness or vomiting. If these physical symptoms of anxiety disorder continue or deteriorate with the passage of time, urgent medical help should be taken.

In order to deal with GAD, medication can help a lot. Short-term medicines ease some of the physical signs of anxiety like stomach cramping and muscle tension. These products are referred to as anti-anxiety medicines. Some common anti-anxiety drugs are lorazepam, clonazepam and alprazolam.

Remember that anti-anxiety medications should not be used for a long time because they have a tendency to become habit-forming. This can lead to dependence, addiction and withdrawal. Medicines called antidepressants could work for long-term treatment.

There are some antidepressants that can work well, such as duloxetine, buspirone, escitalopram, citalopram, desvenlafaxine, venlafaxine, sertraline, paroxetine, fluvoxamine and fluoxetine. These drugs could take a few weeks to begin working and show its effects. However, they can also have some adverse effects, such as diarrhoea, nausea and dry mouth.

These symptoms may bother some individuals so much that they discontinue these medications.But these drugs have really proved to be successful in treating physical symptoms generalized anxiety disorder.


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