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Generalized anxiety disorder

Updated on October 30, 2012

What is GAD

Anxiety is a mental disorder which affects the physical as well as mental balance of a person. The affected person experience certain common symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness, difficulty breathing, insomnia, constipation, puzzled thoughts during the course of this illness. Anxiety is caused when a person in subjected to bad and frightful experiences, from which he/she can neither run nor fight.

Anxiety is very much common nowadays, specially due to the highly competitive and stress filled environment we live in. Small doses of anxiety from time to time is not much of a issue. However if a person endures prolonged anxiety, at a rate of more than 6 months, then it is referred clinically as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD.

Root Cause of GAD

The causes that lead to Generalized Anxiety Disorder is much debated upon. However it can be zeroed in on the following recurrent factors.

  1. Genetics :- Hereditary plays a key role in the development of GAD. If one family member suffers from GAD, the probability for other members to be affected by the same, is high.
  2. Over consumption of alcohol, can lead to GAD. Studies shows that prolonged abstinence to alcohol, reduces notable symptoms of anxiety.
  3. Even though Caffeine provides temporary relief to daily stress, and even boosts productivity, long term use can cause the onset of GAD.


The GAD affected person projects symptoms, similar to that of normal anxiety. The difference is that, GAD sufferers endures prolonged periods of these symptoms followed by increased after effects, not found in normal anxiety. The typical behavioral pattern projected by patients are

  1. Restlessness followed by irritability. This is mainly due to the excessive flow of negative thoughts in their mind.
  2. Loss of energy or completely fatigued throughout the day. Feels less interested in events that once where enjoyable.
  3. Insomnia. Lack of sleep or difficulty falling asleep. This is caused by excessive worry.
  4. Excessive sweating, trembling or shaking.
  5. Muscle tension and aches.
  6. Feels completely blank at times, followed by a thought of not being in control.
  7. Nausea and constipation
  8. Difficulty breathing and feel numbness in throat.
  9. Exaggerated thought process even for the simplest surprises in life.

GAD can be Cured

The good news is GAD can be cured through various treatment options available, which includes psychological counselling to anti depressant medication

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Commonly referred to as CBT, this is a psychological method in which the patient is made aware of the negative thoughts in the mind and its influence on his/her action. With the help of a counselor these negative thoughts are then converted into positive and rational viewpoints. Another method is the gradual exposure of events and situations which the patient dread. By doing so, self confidence level increases and it also helps eliminate irrational fears.

  • SSRI (Selective Serotonin re uptake Inhibitor )

These are antidepressant medication which prevents the re absorption of serotonin in the brain. Even though it is used for clinical depression, considerable results has been seen for the treatment of social anxiety.

  • Caffeine Elimination

Reducing the intake of Caffeine laced drinks can help eliminate the overall symptoms of GAD.

  • Other Treatments

Includes Hypnotherapy and Herbal treatment.


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    • jeugenejohn profile image

      jeugenejohn 5 years ago from Kerala

      Mostly an environment or experience we are not familiar with, can trigger anxiety. Sometimes feeling of recurrence of past experience can also trigger stress. You are right Denise. To be aware of ones thought is a good start. For this, topics on Mindful awareness would be an interesting read.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      The interesting thing about general anxiety disorder is that a person cannot pinpoint their feelings to a particular event or circumstance, it is just always there in the back of the mind, kind of like a gnawing feeling or "what if" this or that happens, what would I do? Having lived with this disorder for the past twenty years, I have learned that I cannot trust my own fight or flight response. I have to check my thought patterns first to see if they are rational.