Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by chronic and extreme worry combined with persistent feelings of tension, nervousness or anxiousness. People with GAD often describe themselves being anxious and worried all of the time. They are always expecting something bad to happen and planning for the worst. They describe themselves as feeling “restless,” “keyed-up,” or “on edge.” The chronic anxiety of GAD is often associated with sleep difficulties, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle pain, tension headaches and stomach problems.
People with GAD often feel a sense of doom or dread. Even though they realize that their extreme anxiety is out of proportion to the reality of the situation, they find it difficult to control their worry.
Some people with GAD only worry about one thing. However, most people with GAD describe themselves as being “worried all the time about everything,” including health, relationships, work, school, finances, and the future.
By definition, GAD is a chronic problem. In order to be diagnosed with GAD a person has to have a worry problem that has interfered with their life and caused them significant distress for more than six months.
GAD can be a serious problem and the symptoms often occur along with symptoms of depression and other anxiety problems. Fortunately, GAD is very treatable with Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The first step towards effective CBT for GAD is a proper and thorough differential diagnostic assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
CBT Associates is a large, well-established and rapidly-growing network of clinics that provides evidence-based psychological services to children, adolescents, adults of all ages, and couples.
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