Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People at a certain point in their lives will go through episodes of anxiety and stress . This is because the worries that daily life generates will continually begin to interfere with psychological stability. Consequently, these same individuals find it difficult to control their emotions. They will begin to suffer from symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder.

This is a mental condition that has no limits in relation to the age or gender of the patient. It can be experienced from childhood , although the most common is that this diagnosis is made in people in adulthood. It has and symptoms similar to obsessive compulsive disorders, panic disorder and other types of anxiety in its different variants.

Statistically, the number of people with this type of disorder has increased considerably. For them it becomes a great challenge to be able to continue with their lives while they suffer from the symptoms, especially since it seriously affects the control of emotions . The use of psychotherapy in combination with medications is usually recommended, however lifestyle changes may also be helpful.

What is generalized anxiety disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder is a type of mental condition which is characterized by experiencing anxiety in a magnified way . This means that patients feel extreme concern, they are also nervous and impulsive with a greater propensity to develop stress in its different facets.

Sometimes it is justified for patients to worry about personal problems related to health, money or family life. However, in other cases it is not possible to observe a reasonable apparent cause for concern. People who suffer from it have difficulties managing their emotions, anxiety and the ability to concentrate when performing certain daily activities.

The anxiety that patients feel is generalized, which means that it is applied to any aspect of the life of these individuals. They are kept in a state of worry and excessive nervousness , usually lasting for a period of up to 6 months or even much longer.

There are not only psychological symptoms such as difficulty concentrating or falling asleep. There are even considerable physiological changes such as easily tired in combination with generalized muscle tension throughout the body. This factor is decisive because it considerably limits the autonomy and performance of the individual, negatively affecting their quality of life.

What are its characteristics and symptoms?

The following are the most common characteristics and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. However, it is important to mention that each patient experiences the suffering of this condition in a different way. It is not necessary for all these symptoms to manifest themselves in the same diagnosis, the important thing to highlight is how a majority of them notably affect the autonomy of the patient . They are as follows:

  • Extreme worry and persistent anxiety , as a result of situations or issues that have not been able to be resolved. Consequently, the concern and attention that is given is magnificent, it is possible that the patient feels remarkably shocked by these events.
  • Plans and possible solutions are constantly being thought of to try to solve certain issues. However, the patient begins to experience thoughts where scenarios with worse results are raised, generating greater anxiety.
  • Patients usually have a negative perception about their own lives and what is happening in their environment. Consequently, they always feel threatened and even feel that they are unable to successfully deal with any problem.
  • Difficulty in coping or facing uncertainty .
  • They tend to show an indecisive and fearful temperament , which is why it is common for them to find themselves in situations where they finally make the wrong decisions.
  • There is an inability to overcome past events, it is not possible to forget any negative situation. They are always concerned and predisposed that any negative result can occur at any time.
  • The behavior is characterized by nervousness and a feeling of excitement. There is an inability to relax and maintain a calmer mental state that allows them to think properly.
  • They have difficulty concentrating , they usually feel disoriented and confused, being completely absent from whatever situation is occurring at the moment.

Some of the more common physical symptoms are fatigue, agitation, tremors , increased sweating, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as diarrhea and nausea; as well as muscle tension and pain . The behavior is always shown to be irritable in addition to usually appearing to be symptoms of sleep disturbances.

What are your causes? 

This type of disorder is still being studied today, therefore different types of theories continue to be formulated that try to find a definitive cause or origin. Consequently, it is not possible to state with full determination how and why this condition develops in some people. So far the only thing that has been proven is that the complex interaction that occurs between biological and environmental factors influences it .

One of the possible causes arises from the differences and chemical changes that influence the different functions of the human brain. This means that when changes in normal functions occur due to hormonal deficiencies, for example, certain elemental processes are consequently suppressed to guarantee the autonomy of the person.

Genetic or hereditary factors must also be taken into consideration some individuals would have a greater propensity to develop these types of mental disorders. This is a risk factor that must be studied, it is possible to determine through different types of neurological examinations the probability that in the future the patient will suffer from generalized anxiety disorder.

Likewise, the development of the personality, which begins from the stage of childhood, can be influenced by external factors . For example, people learn behaviors through personal experiences or through observation. Eventually, they may face difficulties to properly interpret this information, consequently they will have difficulties to perceive the real threats from those that are not.

It has also been observed that most of the diagnoses of this disorder are made in the sector of the population that belongs to the female gender. This is considered a risk factor, also those individuals with shy personalities and negative temperament are more prone.

Regarding the psychological antecedents related to the traumatic and negative experiences that occurred during childhood, they can also influence. Chronic diseases and other types of disorders that affect mental health can be associated with this condition.


The best way to treat generalized anxiety disorder is through psychotherapy . Depending on the results obtained through a previous psychological evaluation, the medical professional in charge may determine that it is necessary to use the use of drugs such as antidepressants and anxiolytics . However, this is a resource that should only be used under strict medical supervision.

Psychotherapy, which is the most recommended resource for these cases, especially when it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy . It is to allow monitoring as well as changes in thoughts, behaviors and other symptoms that must be neutralized.

During the sessions the patient learn to understand and control those elements that distort reality in their minds. These factors are decisive because they influence behavior and generate anxiety. These negative thoughts must be replaced because they also contribute to panic, when eliminated they will feel more in control of themselves.

Regarding the use of medications, the most likely are those that are usually used to treat depression. These will work by helping to prevent some symptoms, or instead to neutralize and control them. In some cases it can be determined what is necessary to use sedatives or hypnotics, these drugs must be administered for limited periods of time; to prevent symptoms from becoming seriously severe.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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