Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) experience excessive and uncontrollable worries about everyday things and spend a lot of time dwelling on “what if?” and imagining the worst possible outcomes. Their anxiety is usually disproportionate to the source of worry—concerns that most people find manageable can feel like huge obstacles. This anxiety interferes with day-to-day life and can manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, trembling, and fidgeting.

Warning signs of GAD include:

  • Inability to get rid of concerns
  • Anxiety that is more intense than a situation warrants
  • Unable to relax and startle easily
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, body aches, trembling and sweating
  • Irritability

Normal Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorder

A manageable amount of anxiety from time to time can be helpful. For example, it can motivate you to prepare for a test a school or finish a task at work. Even happy events like moving to a new home or celebrating an important milestone can bring up anxiety—all of this is just part of being human.

Normal anxiety:
  • Is related to a specific situation or problem
  • Lasts only as long as the situation or problem
  • Is proportional to the situation or problem
  • Is a realistic response to a realistic problem orsituation
Anxiety Disorder:
  • Anxiety may come up unexpectedly, for seemingly no reason
  • The anxiety response to a situation or problem may be much stronger that they would expect
  • They may experience a lot of unrealistic anxiety, such as fear of a situation that likely will never happen
  • Anxiety may last for a long time, even when the situation or problem has been resolved
  • Anxiety may feel impossible to control or manage
  • They may avoid situations or things that they believe to trigger anxiety symptoms

Anxiety is a problem when it becomes overwhelming or unmanageable and it comes up unexpectedly. Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that have a big impact your life. People may avoid going about their daily lives in order to avoid anxiety. They may experience a lot of uncomfortable physical sensations and physical health problems. Many people say that they know their anxiety isn’t based in reality, but they feel ‘trapped’ by their thought and feelings. Anxiety disorders can be treated. It’s important to seek help if you’re concerned about anxiety in your life.


Scientists believe that many factors may combine to cause anxiety disorders. Here are a few of the most likely:

  • Brain chemistry. Symptoms are often relieved by medicines that alter levels of chemicals in the brain.
  • Life experiences. Exposure to abuse, violence, or poverty may increase the likelihood of getting these illnesses
  • Family history (genetics). Studies show that anxiety disorders run in families. Anxiety disorders can begin in childhood. If you are a parent, watch your children for symptoms so they can be treated early.
  • Learned behaviors and thinking patterns. People with low self-esteem and poor coping skills may be prone to anxiety disorders

Diagnosis and Tests

Doctors use several different tools to learn about conditions and make a diagnosis:

  • Questionnaires. To check for anxiety and other mental health problems, your doctor may ask you to answer questions about your symptoms, stress, coping style, and support system.
  • Medical history. Your doctor asks about your past and present illnesses and your family history.
  • Physical exam. An exam helps your doctor know if your symptoms come from something other than an anxiety disorder.
  • Guidelines for diagnosis. Your doctor compares your information to standard medical definitions for mental health disorders.


  • Counseling. Also called psychotherapy or “talk therapy,” counseling can help you understand your problems and develop ways to work through them.
  • Medicine. Several different types of medicines are used. If one type isn’t working, remember that there are other options. Working with your doctor, you can find the best medicine and dosage for you.

If you think you suffer from anxiety disorder, don’t wait to get help.

Call our team of specialized mental health specialists who can connect you with experience mental health professionals immediately.