Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms - Typical Signs
What are the typical generalized anxiety disorder symptoms and signs?
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by constant, and often irrational, worry or fear. It impedes daily living for those whom it affects, and often their concerns are entirely disproportionate to their source.
Generalized anxiety disorder can be difficult to pinpoint, because unlike the other anxiety disorders, it lacks a distinctly observable marker (for example, compulsive behaviors in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or social isolation in social anxiety disorder). However, if one knows the generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, the condition can be identified and appropriately treated.
The primary symptom of generalized anxiety disorder is a consistent and extreme sense of nervousness or worry. Individuals with GAD tend to consider every situation in terms of its possible catastrophic results.
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Some generalized anxiety disorder symptoms and signs include the tendency to anticipate disaster, and exaggerate legitimate concerns to the point where they become unmanageable. People with GAD are likely to be extremely preoccupied with everyday matters such as work difficulties, relationship issues, family problems, money, death, and health issues.
Because GAD is thought to be inherent in those whom it afflicts, these symptoms must be on-going and persistent for at least 6 months for a diagnosis of GAD to be considered.
Aside from the psychological symptoms of GAD, there are a number of physiological generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, too. These symptoms can be particularly helpful in recognizing the disorder in others, as they are mostly observable behaviors.
Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder may fidget often, experience nausea, or complain of fatigue. Headaches are also a common physical manifestation of GAD. Muscle tension and muscle aches are often experienced by people with GAD as well.
Furthermore, in periods of anxiety that is even more significant than usual, individuals with GAD may experience difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, insomnia, hot flashes, and rashes.
There are a number of useful treatments that can be implemented once GAD has been recognized. Self-help has been particularly influential in people with GAD, as one must first take action to recognize the irrationality of their fears and behavior, before GAD can be overcome.
SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have also been successful in treating this disorder, as has cognitive behavioral therapy. Benzodiazepines are also used to treat GAD in some circumstances, but as they are very powerful drugs, should be used with caution.
However, do note our overall stand with regard to drug medications - they almost always come with undesirable and even dangerous side effects, and should only be used as a last resort, if ever at all.
GAD makes daily life a rollercoaster of concern, fear, and panic for those who suffer from it. Familiarity with the generalized anxiety disorder symptoms and the ability to identify them in oneself or others will provide the foundation necessary to overcome this disorder.
Life should not be a series of concerns and worry, and it is important that those who suffer from GAD and other anxiety disorders realize that there are many helpful options out there.
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