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Generalised Anxiety Disorder

What is a Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

In a General Anxiety Disorder, the person experiences excessive anxiety and worry, which they find difficult to control, about different events or activities. Unlike in a Phobia, the anxiety is not associated with a specific situation, but can occur in a wide range of different situations. General anxiety also can occur in other disorders such as Depression and PTSD.

What are the symptoms?

The person is generally anxious and worried, suffering anxiety that is far out of proportion to the actual likelihood or impact of the feared events. They find it difficult to keep worry from interfering with attention to tasks at hand. They often worry about every day routine life circumstances such as job responsibilities, finances, health or things happening to family members, or minor matters, such as household chores, appointments etc. During the course of the disorder the focus of worry may shift from one concern to another.
They also suffer a range of other symptoms such as: feeling restless, edgy, and keyed up; tiring easily; poor concentration; irritability; increased muscle tension; and difficulty in sleeping, with problems in getting off to sleep, or restless, unrefreshing sleep. The symptoms cause significant distress and tend to affect work, social or personal functioning.

How long does it last?

Many people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder have felt anxious and nervous all their lives. Although over half of those presenting for treatment report that their problems started in childhood or adolescent, it is not uncommon for the condition to start after aged 20. The course of the condition is chronic, but fluctuating, and often worsens during times of stress.

What is the treatment?

CBT is the treatment of choice, with particular emphasis on controlling negative thinking patterns. Anxiolytics or anti-depressant medication can also be a useful adjunct to treatment.

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