DEFINITION OF GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER

Anxiety is fraught with uncertainty, instability, and feelings of vulnerability. A manageable amount of stress is inherent in human beings and may even be channeled into creative or productive activities. Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the stress types that you may suffer from.

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Another thing is when the anxiety invades the mind, paralyzing the subject; it loads concerns and apprehensions of every moment of our life, which becomes intolerable and disturbing, causing long term chronic and permanent anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) has recently been identified as a psychiatric illness. Patients suffering from this disease are in all ranges from childhood to adulthood. It is diagnosed more frequently in women than in men (60 % vs. 55%).

It is more common than panic disorder, simple phobia, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It is thought that there is a reduction in sensitivity of the adrenergic receptors in the GAD. There is also an excessive serotonergic activity in brain areas such as the raphe, hypothalamus, basal ganglia and limbic system.

It has a significant association with the diseases of mood disorders and other anxiety disorders such as post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder or social phobia.

Between 25 and 30% of patients with GAD have depression. In turn, between 20 and 30% of depressed patients met the criteria for the diagnosis of GAD. It is closely related to alcohol abuse.

GAD is a chronic disorder, where the severity of symptoms varies over time. Without specific treatment, it is unlikely that the symptoms remit spontaneously. 66% of patients diagnosed with GAD do not receive any treatment.

SOME SYMPTOMS OF GAD

1. Excessive anxiety, worries or fears that occur over several days, during a period of at least six months. It may include many events or activities (such as at work, school or college, in personal relationships).

2. The person finds it difficult to control the worries or anxiety.

3. Anxiety is associated with three or more (except in children which are only one) of the following symptoms:
– Feeling restless or emotionally tense
– Fatigued or tired quickly
– Difficulty in concentrating
– Blocked mentally
– Irritability
– Muscle tension
– Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep or waking up several times at night and couldn’t resume it, having a feeling that you didn’t get necessary rest)

4. Anxiety or worry or physical symptoms cause marked distress in social, occupational, sexual prejudice, or other areas.

5. These problems must not be due to the effects of addictions to substances (e.g.,: cocaine or amphetamines) or the use of medications or other medical conditions (hyperthyroidism) or by the result of a mental or mood problems (major depression, bipolar illness).

Only one-third of patients benefits from shorter therapies. Most patients should receive prolonged treatment and the need to continue the medication should be evaluated every six months.

Precipitating Factors for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

1. Increased demand, both internal and external: Thus, a person can have high expectations and high self-demanding principles, or may have increased responsibilities in his life. This can make him feel more concerned about the possibility of failure.

If he believes that his value as a person relies heavily on his performance level, the threat of failure will be increased. For example, a job promotion to a position of greater responsibility, the birth of a new child, etc.

2. Stressful events that decrease confidence: For example, a person is fired from her job and rejected for various posts, and this leads her to consider if she is an incompetent person and then starts worrying about the possibility of being unable to cope.

3. Increasing threats: That is, the life circumstances of an individual can change a situation that poses a serious threat. For example, the arrival of a new boss whose behavior is hostile or abusive, or a child sick with a severe illness, leading his mother to be worried about not being able to care for him properly.

4. A stressful situation is affecting an individual’s vulnerability. For example, when an independent and autonomous person is forced to account for everything he does.

You should see your family doctor if you believe you are experiencing GAD. You should not diagnose yourself as the symptoms you are having could be due to something else. A medical professional will be able to check your history and give you a correct diagnosis.

Generalized anxiety disorder will require the help of a mental health professional. This person will work with you and advise you of the different therapies and medications available to help you get better.

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