Generalized anxiety disorder is a common type of anxiety disorder. People with generalized anxiety disorder experience excessive worry and anxiety over daily circumstances. They may feel that they have little control over their internal tension and it may interfere with their lives. Generalized anxiety disorder is treatable with therapy, medications, or both.
Generalized anxiety disorder may develop at any age, including childhood. More women than men experience this condition. Many people report that they have always felt anxious.
Generalized anxiety disorder can cause physical symptoms as well. You may feel irritable, tired, weak, and shaky. You may experience excessive sweating, shortness of breath, and feel your heart beating in your chest. Headaches and muscle tension are associated with generalized anxiety disorder. You may experience problems sleeping. It may be difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or to “get a good night’s sleep.” Generalized anxiety disorder can contribute to digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
You should tell your doctor about your symptoms, how long they last, and when they occur. Your doctor will ask you questions to help diagnose generalized anxiety disorder and any co-existing conditions. Your doctor will consider all of your information and responses to determine if your symptoms meet the specific diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety disorder.
Relaxation training may help to reduce tension. Support groups for people with anxiety disorders are a place to receive information and support from people with similar situations. Anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and sleep inducing medications can be extremely helpful as well. In many cases, medication and therapy are both used. Additionally, it is beneficial to stop using caffeine products or other stimulants.