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Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

We all experience a certain amount of anxiety daily. This is a natural response exhibited by the body when you are confronted with a stressful situation. However, there is a difference between an occasional bout of anxiety and a mental illness. For instance, if you feel incredibly anxious most of the time and have been struggling with anxiety for several months now, then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

In this article, we are going to discuss the different types of anxiety disorders and the symptoms, causes, and treatment of general anxiety disorder.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

According to the American Psychological Association, an anxiety disorder is characterized as a condition where you have intrusive concerns and thoughts of a recurring nature. There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders. These disorders tend to interfere with how you process emotions. They can also cause alterations in behavior. Some anxiety disorders also involve physical symptoms. The most common anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Health anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Perinatal OCD (also known as perinatal anxiety)
  • Body dysmorphic disorder

Signs and Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Among the different types of anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common. It is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Sleeplessness
  • Cognitive problems (finding it difficult to concentrate)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irritability
  • Frequent headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Breathlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension

Causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The exact cause of generalized anxiety disorder is not known. However, several biological and environmental factors can play a role in causing this disorder. These include:

  • Experiencing difficulty at work or having relationship problems
  • Family issues
  • Having a history of anxiety disorder in the family
  • Experiencing stress post an intensive surgery
  • Changes in brain chemistry resulting in a misalignment of electrical signals that control hormonal balance
  • After-effects of medication
  • Having a negative or timid temperament
  • Experiencing something traumatic or negative during childhood

Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Treatment of generalized anxiety disorder involves the following:

1.   Getting Psychotherapy

You can consult a therapist and get psychotherapy to help control your symptoms. In the case of generalized anxiety disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy is considered to be the most effective. This is a short-term treatment that helps you manage your worries by learning certain skills.

2.   Taking Medication

You can also take medication for treating generalized anxiety disorder. Make sure you talk to your doctor about this. The following types of medication are used to treat GAD.

  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buspirone

3.   Opting for Self-care Remedies

You can try self-care remedies to treat this disorder, as well. These include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Doing meditation and yoga
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Avoiding substance abuse
  • Reducing your caffeine intake
  • Quit smoking

Let’s Sum It Up

Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses in the USA. Every year, 18% of Americans are diagnosed with this disorder. If you find yourself suffering from symptoms of this disorder, we suggest you get professional help immediately.  

If you require further advice on the symptoms and treatment of anxiety disorders, book an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine.

Visit or call 469-208-9770.