Generalized Anxiety Disorder: What are the symptoms?


We all experience worry and panic attacks during tough situations. The human body responds to stress through anxiety. However, if the feeling becomes extreme and lasts longer, then it can be because you have a Generalized anxiety disorder or GAD.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to properly diagnosing GAD. Understanding the type and proper symptoms of the disorder will help you get the right help when you need it. 

Types of anxiety disorders

Anxiety can be a sign of many other disorders. Some of them are as follows:

  • Phobia: It is the excess fear that one exhibits about a specific situation, activity, or even objects and individuals.
  • Social anxiety disorder: if the individual is having an extreme fear of being judged by others.
  • Panic disorder: Recurring panic attacks during unexpected times make the person live with the constant fear of their next panic attack.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): A chronic mental health condition in which the individual affected experience obsessive, irrational thoughts that creates an extremely compulsive urge to repeat a specific behavior.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Recurring anxiety that occurs due to some traumatic event in the past.
  • Illness anxiety disorder: Formerly referred to as hypochondria, it is the constant worry about your health.
  • Separation anxiety disorder: Fear of staying away from your home and dear ones.

Criteria for diagnosing anxiety disorders

DSM-5 mentions specific criteria that professionals use to accurately diagnose a generalized anxiety disorder[1]. Individuals suffering from GAD usually experience anxiety that lasts for more than six months. The anxiety and worry can be about various topics, events, or individuals. It will be very challenging for the people affected with anxiety disorders to control their worry and this can in turn affect their mind, body, personal life,  career, and more.

Symptoms of general anxiety

Anxiety and worry caused by GAD can reflect on your body as various physical and cognitive symptoms. They include:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Fear
  • Getting tired or more fatigued than usual
  • Having trouble concentrating (feeling like your mind goes blank at times)
  • Muscle aches and soreness
  • Having trouble sleeping

These symptoms can differ from one person to another. It should be also noted that having any of these symptoms does not confirm that you have a generalized anxiety disorder. Many of these symptoms can be signs of panic attacks as well. So, it is better to consult a professional therapist before confirming.


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