Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is condition recognized by constant exaggerated worry about the everyday circumstances without actual cause. Affected people have anxieties concerning work, family and health and always anticipate catastrophe (nuclear war, earthquakes, etc.). Patients feel helpless and tensed all the time.
If not treated GAD can lead to and worsen other conditions like teeth grinding, digestive and bowel problems, substance dependence, insomnia, headaches and depression.
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder incorporate following: insomnia, sweating, breathing difficulties, headaches, tension in muscle, trembling, twitching, hot flashes, nausea, tiredness, rash, numbness, rapid heart beat and trouble with concentrating. Patients are unexpectedly and easily startled and are unable to rest. People with GAD usually need to go to bathroom often, they are susceptible to irritating bowel syndrome and have sense of having lump in the throat.
GAD can sometimes be connected to depression and drug abuse. Once it occurs, the disorder can become chronic. It can be relieved with proper medication.
Generalized anxiety disorder can be identified if it lasts at least 6 months. Onset is usually from childhood to adolescence and women are two or tree times more affected comparing to men. In US, 2-4 % of population experience GAD every year.
Generalized anxiety disorder can be successfully treated with: drugs, relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapy and control of muscle tension. Alternative medicine can also be helpful. Certain supplements can alleviate symptoms like kava (relaxing effect), valerian (sleep aid), vitamin B and folic acid (for brain chemistry balance).
Causes to this condition are not strictly identified. Scientists think that biological, psychological and social factors have certain influence. Also, alcohol and benzodiazepine dependence can be responsible for GAD and symptoms can worsen during withdrawal.
It is believed that major impact to development of generalized anxiety disorder has family traits, personality, brain chemistry and life experiences.
1.Heredity is evident in development of anxiety. In a study it was reported that when one of the identical twins suffers from anxiety disorder, the other has more chance to develop it as well. The same can happen in case of non-identical twins.
2.Brain chemistry can be balanced with the help of drugs that change levels of chemicals in brain.
3.Certain personality types are more prone to generalized anxiety disorder. Low self-esteem and inability to deal with everyday circumstances can have an impact on anxiety onset.
4.Bad life experiences like abuse, violence, witnessing traumatic events and poverty may be connected to development of generalized anxiety disorder.