Generalized Anxiety Disorder


It’s common for individuals to experience anxiety at some point in their lives but when worry begins to get out of control it may be a sign of an underlying mental health disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry that they have a difficult time controlling. Individuals experiencing GAD may worry about a number of different things which can include but is not limited to an anticipated disaster, money, health, family, work, and other related issues. Individuals may worry more than it seems warranted to worry about these events and may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern. GAD is typically diagnosed when that individual finds it difficult to control worry and are experiencing anxiety on more days than not. GAD can come on gradually and can begin across the life cycle and can occur at any point in life. Individuals experiencing GAD do not know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants.


·         Excessive worry about everyday things

·         Difficulty controlling worries or feelings of nervousness

·         Recognition of excessive worry

·         Restlessness and difficulty relaxing

·         Difficulty concentrating

·         Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, being tired all of the time

·         Irritable or feeling “on edge”

·         Sweat a lot, light-headed or out of breath

·         Headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains

Children vs. Adults

Children & Adolescents with GAD often worry excessively worry about their performance in school or sports, as well as catastrophes such as an earthquake or war.

Adults with GAD are often nervous about everyday circumstances such as job security or performance, health, finances, health and well-being of children, being late, and completion of household chores or other responsibilities.


A number of types of treatment can help with GAD, such as supportive and interpersonal therapy. Specifically, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) has shown to help with those experiencing anxiety as it specifically targets thoughts, physical symptoms, and behaviors and can help people understand the nature of their anxiety. Also, a series of relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, exercise, and other alternative treatments may become part of the treatment plan.

Additional Resources

Article – Generalized Anxiety Disorder in children

Blog Post – How to Recognize If You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Tips for Living with Anxiety

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