Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

At the heart of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an excessive, exaggerated fear and worry about everyday life experiences. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder continually predict disaster and can't stop worrying about what is going to go wrong and how they will cope with the impending crises. They feel an overwhelming pressure to ‘be on guard’ at all times and in all situations. In people with GAD, the worry is often unrealistic and out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a painful ordeal demanding a state of worry, fear and dread. Although people with GAD may realize that their anxiety is excessive or unjustified, they are unable to simply “snap out of it.” This vicious circle of fear feeding more fear eclipses healthy living, interfering with daily functioning.

The causes of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are complex and difficult to understand. Research has shown that three significant contributors to the cause of the disorder include environmental (stressors), genetic (family history of GAD), and an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters - serotonin and dopamine).

Those who develop GAD, often begin to have anxiety symptoms during childhood or adolescence, but they can also begin in adulthood. GAD affects people of all ages, and the disorder is twice as likely to affect women as men.

 

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