Written by Tara Boustany on
December 15, 2021
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Tara Boustany on:

We all have worries in life, but it is not normal to worry excessively about little things. We’ll go through detailed descriptions of general anxiety disorder symptoms.

Read our article to see whether you need expert help, or if you’re just having a bad day!

What is generalized anxiety disorder?

Anxiety is a mental illness in which one is overly concerned about everything and anything. GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder, is an anxiousness that persists over six months and is excessive.

It can lead to long-term physical issues including chest pain, tiredness, sleeplessness, and irritable bowel syndrome among others.

GAD, in contrast with other anxiety disorders, is characterized by worry about everyday occurrences for no apparent reason. Even if there is no obvious cause for worry, you may anticipate the worst and become apprehensive.

When you are in a setting that makes you anxious and your generalized anxiety disorder gets worse over time, you may experience physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweating, or trembling.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder might be different for each person. You may have some, all, or none of them.

If you are having any combination of the aforementioned symptoms on most days for at least six months, it is probable that you have a generalized anxiety disorder.

If your difficulties are preventing you from living a normal life, then it is critical that you seek assistance from a professional.

People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder may experience the following symptoms:

  • Feeling restless all the time.
  • Trembling hands.
  • A constant feeling of being tired and exhausted.
  • Difficulties in concentrating on tasks at hand due to frequent distraction.
  • Difficulty in sleeping properly and having difficulty getting up in the morning. This is due to fatigue and sleep problems caused by stress-related issues like generalized worry.
  • Frequent anxiety attacks, especially in public places.

It’s critical to get enough rest and eat properly. It will assist you in not being overwhelmed or nervous. Exercising may help your body relax and help you manage your time more efficiently.

All of these things can assist those who are between the ages of 13 and 24 in avoiding generalized anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Causes

There are a number of reasons why someone may develop GAD. Some general anxiety is natural, but when it becomes excessive and goes on for months with no apparent cause, you might be suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder.

Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common anxiety disorders, affecting around 20% of people. It’s also linked to other mental health issues such as worry, or eating problems.

It might also be a sign of another bodily sickness. Another typical reason for generalized anxiety disorder is substance abuse.

GAD can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in children and young adults. It’s possible that genetics or brain chemistry is to blame.

If a family member has a generalized anxiety disorder or any other mental illness, you’re more likely to get it as well.

People who have gone through traumatic events like child abuse or natural catastrophes are also at an increased risk of developing GAD.

The generalized anxiety causes include:

  • High-stress levels at work or school owing to deadlines. This can put a strain on your body and cause physical responses like muscle tension, which leads to generalized anxiety about being late.
  • Relationship problems that make you feel nervous and uneasy can cause tension with friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Feeling of being keyed up or on edge
  • Irritability
  • Constant stress levels, especially those that are persistent and cause weariness over time.

Generalized anxiety disorder has no known cause. However, there are a few generalized anxiety risk factors that might raise your chances of getting GAD. The following are some common generalized anxiety risk factors:

  • Having a family history of generalized anxiety disorder or other mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder.
  • Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Experiencing a lot of stress at work or school.
  • Struggling with substance abuse problems.
  • Suffering from chronic pain conditions.

Generalized Anxiety Risk Factors

If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, you are more likely to face generalized risk factors. These generalized risk factors include:

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Not being able to handle stress well due to a lack of coping skills.
  • Having a family history of generalized anxiety disorder or any other mental health problem.
  • Suffering from other mental health problems like depression, bipolar disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Risk Complications

Complications associated with generalized anxiety disorder can be both physical and mental. There are certain generalized anxiety disorder risk factors that increase a person’s chances of getting this condition. Some of these generalized anxiety disorder risk factors are:

  • Living under constant generalized stress or pressure.
  • Having generalized anxiety disorder in the family which is genetic.
  • Depression. When generalized anxiety becomes so severe that it affects everyday activities such as socializing or work, depression may set in. Depression or other mental health disorders like bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder can increase the severity of general anxiety symptoms over time. If you are vulnerable to depression, this will raise your chances of developing substance abuse issues in the future.
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse. This may lead to generalized risk factors like accidents, injuries, and infections which can be fatal.

Some generalized anxiety risk complications include:

  • Developing a substance abuse problem.
  • Suffering from a chronic pain condition.
  • Having problems at work or school due to difficulty concentrating.
  • Developing an eating disorder.
  • Suffering from depression or another mental health problem.

High-Risk Disorders associated with GAD are the following:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder can develop as a result of constant tension and restlessness, which may lead to the development of generalized worry in individuals who suffer from panic attacks. Individuals with panic attacks are more likely than others to get generalized worry as a result of their poor coping abilities in such instances.
  • Those who suffer from general worry are more likely to get cancer as a result of high levels of stress. If you make some efforts, you can avoid it. Managing your time effectively so that you do not become stressed all the time is an important first step.
  • Keep yourself healthy with exercise and proper sleep. This can reduce the chances of health problems including generalized worries.

Generalized Anxiety Prevention

You should take steps for generalized anxiety prevention by not letting yourself become overwhelmed with work at hand especially since it’s very common these days to have a lot of work piling upon us all at once without getting paid more than what we’re currently earning!

So, try avoiding stress-related situations where you feel tense about how much you have to do in too little time.

There are generalized anxiety prevention methods that can be implemented in daily routine for reducing anxiety levels and preventing the development of generalized worry over time.

There is no sure way to prevent generalized anxiety disorder. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of developing GAD. Some generalized prevention measures include:

  • Practicing stress management techniques like yoga or meditation.
  • Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants.
  • Getting enough exercise and sleep.
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet.

Meditation or yoga helps people relax their mind and body when they feel stressed out Generalized Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis & Treatment Options.

If you suffer from generalized worry on a regular basis, it is important that you seek professional help so as to get an accurate diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment options for your condition. The recommended course of generalized anxiety disorder treatment includes:

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy where generalized worry is discussed in detail and you are taught various generalized prevention techniques to control your generalized anxiety levels on a daily basis.

You can visit your therapist once or twice a week for this specific generalized anxiety disorder treatment method

Prescription medication such as antidepressants helps you gain relief from generalized stress thus allowing you to use other preventive measures like meditation with ease

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis

To diagnose a generalized anxiety disorder, a doctor will ask you about your symptoms and any generalized risk factors or complications that might be present. You’ll need to answer questions like:

  • How often does this worry occur? This includes the duration of episodes as well as how severe they are, such as if it’s impacting on school or work performance.
  • How much is this fear bothering you right now?
  • What kind of thoughts goes through your mind when these generalized worry symptoms start taking place?
  • Are there certain triggers for generalized worry symptom attacks such as specific people who make you feel uneasy, places where panic tends to strike more frequently than others?
  • Does anything else bother or upset you during generalized worry episodes?
  • Do you feel anxious or depressed at other times besides generalized anxiety disorder symptoms? If so, for how long and to what degree?

The responses are then compared with generalized diagnostic criteria, Generalized Risk Factors & Complications. There are some generalized risk factors that can put you more at risk of developing generalized worry than others.

Generalized risk factors often occur before the development of generalized worry but may be present after it begins as well.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children

In children, anxiety disorder is marked by a range of symptoms. Signs include separation anxiety and social phobia. If they have a family history of worrying or other mental health problems, then they are more likely to be diagnosed with GAD. A child’s symptoms might also be mistaken for ADHD.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Teenage Years

If your parents have different kinds of anxiety, then you might have a type of anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorder can happen to people who grow up with parents who have generalized anxiety.

This kind of family tension may make it hard for children to live their lives as they would otherwise. Teenagers may have trouble with generalized worry issues because of those problems.

Some generalized anxiety disorder prevention tips for teenagers and children include:

  • Encouraging physical activity as it helps in releasing tension and makes the child feel tired so he or she can sleep better
  • Helping them learn how to relax through practices like yoga, meditation, etc. which help in calming down the mind and body
  • Teaching Them Coping Skills To Deal With Stressful Situations- like problem-solving skills, deep breathing exercises, positive self-talk etc. This will help the teenager deal with stressful situations without developing generalized anxiety later on in life
  • Taking control of generalized worry by knowing what you can do to prevent it and how much-generalized prevention is possible for your condition. This will help you gain confidence in taking steps towards generalized anxiety disorder treatment
  • Talking about your problems with someone who understands them well, even if they are not able to solve the problem but at least talking helps reduce stress levels resulting from generalized worries
  • Turning off screens like phones or TVs causes more problems than solving any because this makes people stay indoors without doing anything productive.

If a teenager or child is suffering from generalized anxiety disorder then parents should try some preventive measures as well so that their children may get relief from GAD symptoms.

If you are a parent trying to prevent your child from developing generalized anxiety disorder symptoms than the following steps can help parents out with this task:

  • Encouraging kids to live up to their full potential by not pushing them too hard towards studies/sports/work but helping them strike a balance between all these aspects of life.
  • Helping children deal with a generalized anxiety disorder by teaching them positive coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills.
  • Making sure that they get a good night’s sleep as lack of sleep worsens generalized anxiety symptoms in children
  • Allowing them to have breaks from screens and technology so they can enjoy some outdoor activities.
  • Being understanding towards their problems and not being judgmental so that the child does not feel embarrassed to share generalized anxiety disorder symptoms with parents.
  • When treating a child who has generalized anxiety disorder, it’s important to obtain the help of specialists like pediatricians, therapists, and counselors. Pediatricians, therapists, and counselors should be contacted for assistance in this situation since treating an adult is different from treating a youngster.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Adults

In adults, generalized worry often begins as a way to cope with stress. It might start during times of change, such as a new job or moving to a new home.

Generalized anxiety disorder can also be caused by traumatic life events, like the death of a loved one. The most common generalized prevention types for adults include:

  • Diet changes to improve diet quality as junk food intake can lead to various health issues including stress causing physical reactions leading to generalized stress over time.
  • Exercise on a daily basis since it helps you relax physically thus reducing tension levels gradually.
  • Staying hydrated since it is important to keep your body well-nourished with water in order to prevent generalized anxiety disorder symptoms.
  • Curbing caffeine intake as too much of it can cause generalized stress making you feel anxious all the time.
  • Getting enough sleep by ensuring that they get at least seven hours of shut eye every night.
  • Participating in stress-relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, journaling etc.
  • Talking to a professional about their problems and worries as it can help reduce generalized anxiety disorder symptoms over time.

Medication and therapy are often the most effective treatment options for generalized anxiety disorder in adults.

Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicines, and beta-blockers are some of the most common medications used to treat generalized anxiety conditions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy is one of the types of psychotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder.

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is treated with psychotherapy, which helps to relieve your stress. It also allows you to use other preventative techniques easily.

Anti-depressants can be given by a doctor if you are not getting better with psychotherapy alone.

If you’ve been diagnosed with generalized anxiety, it means that there is a problem in your brain. This will cause too much activity which leads to excessive anxiety.

Certain medicines recognized for their effect on people with depression can also help people with anxiety.

It is best to talk to someone about this before using medicines without the supervision of a doctor unless you know it’s safe.

Treatments for generalized anxiety disorder work best when they are combined. You and your therapist might decide that medication, therapy, and self-help techniques will work well for you. These treatment methods may include the following:

  • Behavioral therapy. This is where you learn different ways of reacting to generalized worry and stressful events. They also teach how to manage stress levels effectively.
  • Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation which help control the body’s response to stress and tension.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy which helps people understand the thoughts and feelings that contribute to their worries along with teaching them various skills for managing these thoughts and worries. Sessions usually last for around 16 weeks.
  • Exposure therapy which gradually exposes people to the things they fear or avoid such as spiders, public speaking etc., while allowing them to learn that they have nothing to fear.
  • Mindfulness-based generalized anxiety disorder therapy helps patients understand their worries and feelings better.

When to Seek Professional Help

It’s time to seek professional assistance if your GAD symptoms aren’t improved by a general approach or if you’re sad. Children and teenagers who have GAD require immediate expert specialized care.

It is critical for you to visit a doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any three of the GAD symptoms listed above.

Remember that GAD may be effectively treated when it is diagnosed and treated properly. If you are having difficulties with your mental health, it is important that you contact a professional.

Concluding Thoughts

If you are feeling really anxious all of the time, it is important for you to get help. Generalized anxiety disorder can be treated if diagnosed and managed early on. But only with the right treatment methods. It’s important not to worry anymore!

Join our online community and talk to others today who understand what you are experiencing. Visit our blog for more information about GAD, anxiety, or other health conditions like ADHD.

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