It is normal to feel anxious every now and then, mainly when your life is stressful. However, excessive, ongoing anxiety and worry that are hard to control and interfere with day-to-day activities might be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.

There is the possibility of developing a generalized anxiety disorder as a child or an adult. Generalized anxiety disorder has symptoms that are similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other kinds of anxiety, but they are all different conditions.

Living with a generalized anxiety disorder could be a long-term challenge. In many cases, it happens along with other anxiety or mood disorders. In the majority of cases, generalized anxiety disorder improves with psychotherapy or medications. Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills, and using relaxation techniques also could help.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?


Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms could vary. They may include:

  • Persistent worrying or anxiety about a number of regions that are out of proportion to the impact of the events
  • Overthinking plans and solutions to all potential worst-case outcomes
  • Perceiving situations and events as threats, even when they are not
  • Trouble handling uncertainty
  • Indecisiveness and fear of making a wrong decision
  • Inability to put aside or let go of a worry
  • Inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on the edge
  • Trouble concentrating, or the feeling that your mind “goes blank”

Physical signs and symptoms might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Trembling, feeling twitchy
  • Nervousness or being easily startled
  • Sweating
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Irritability

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

There might be times when your worries do not completely consume you, but you still feel anxious even when there is no apparent reason. For example, you might feel intense worry about your safety or that of your loved ones, or you may have a general sense that something bad is about to happen.

Your anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause you considerable distress in social, work, or other areas of your life. Worries could shift from one concern to another and may change with time and age.

Symptoms in children and teenagers

Children and teenagers might have similar worries to adults, but also may have excessive worries about:

  • Performance at school or sporting events
  • Family members’ safety
  • Being on time (punctuality)
  • Earthquakes, nuclear war, or other catastrophic events

A child or teen with excessive worry might:

  • Feel overly anxious to fit in
  • Be a perfectionist
  • Redo tasks because they are not perfect the first time
  • Spend excessive time doing homework
  • Lack confidence
  • Strive for approval
  • Require a lot of reassurance about performance
  • Have frequent stomach aches or other physical complaints
  • Avoid going to school or avoid social situations

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms


Some anxiety is normal, but check with your doctor if:

  • You feel like you are worrying too much, and it is interfering with your work, relationships, or other parts of your life
  • You feel depressed or irritable, have trouble with drinking or drugs, or you have other mental health issues along with anxiety
  • If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors — seek emergency treatment promptly

Your worries are unlikely to simply go away on their own, and they might actually get worse over time. Try to seek professional help before your anxiety becomes severe — it might be easier to treat early on.


As with many mental health conditions, the cause of generalized anxiety disorder likely arises from a complex interaction of biological and environmental factors, which might include:

  • Differences in brain chemistry and function
  • Genetics
  • Differences in the way threats are perceived
  • Development and personality


Women are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder somewhat more frequently than men. The following factors might increase the risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder:

  • Personality – A person whose temperament is timid or negative or who avoids anything dangerous might be more prone to generalized anxiety disorder than others.
  • Genetics – Generalized anxiety disorder might run in families.
  • Experiences – People with a generalized anxiety disorder might have a history of significant life changes, traumatic, or negative experiences during childhood, or a recent traumatic or negative event. Chronic medical illnesses or other mental health disorders might increase the risk.


Having generalized anxiety disorder could be disabling. It could:

  • Impair your ability to perform tasks rapidly and efficiently because you have trouble concentrating
  • Take your time and focus on other activities
  • Sap your energy
  • Increase your risk of depression

Generalized anxiety disorder could also lead to or worsen other physical health conditions, such as:

  • Digestive or bowel problems, like irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Chronic pain and disease
  • Sleep problems and insomnia
  • Heart-health problems

Generalized anxiety disorder often happens along with other mental health problems, which could make diagnosis and treatment more challenging. Some mental health disorders that commonly happen with a generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide
  • Substance abuse


There is no way to predict for certain what will cause someone to develop a generalized anxiety disorder, but you could take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if you experience anxiety:

  • Get help early – Anxiety, like many other mental health conditions, could be harder to treat if you wait.
  • Keep a journal – Keeping track of your personal life could help you and your mental health professional identify what is causing you to stress and what seems to help you feel better.
  • Prioritize issues in your life – You could reduce anxiety by carefully managing your time and energy.
  • Avoid unhealthy substance use – Alcohol and drug use and even nicotine or caffeine use could cause or worsen anxiety. If you are addicted to any of these substances, quitting could make you anxious. If you cannot quit on your own, see your doctor or find a treatment program or support group to help you.


To help diagnose a generalized anxiety disorder, your doctor or mental health professional might:

  • Do a physical examination to look for signs that your anxiety might be linked to medications or an underlying medical condition
  • Order blood or urine tests or other tests, when a medical condition is suspected
  • Ask in-depth questions about your symptoms and medical history
  • Use psychological questionnaires to help make a diagnosis
  • Use the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), issued by the American Psychiatric Association

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Risk Factors


Treatment decisions are based on how significantly generalized anxiety disorder is affecting your ability to function in your everyday life. The two primary treatments for generalized anxiety disorder are psychotherapy and medications. You might benefit most from a combination of both. It might take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.


Also called talk therapy or psychological counseling, psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective type of psychotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder.

Also called talk therapy or psychological counseling, psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective type of psychotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder.


Several kinds of medications are used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, including those below. Speak with your doctor about the benefits, risks, and possible side effects.

  • Antidepressants – Antidepressants, including medications in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and the serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) classes, are the first-line of medication treatments. Examples of antidepressants used to treat generalized anxiety disorder involve escitalopram (Lexapro), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR), and paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva). Your doctor also might recommend other antidepressants.
  • Buspirone – An anti-anxiety medication known as buspirone may be used on an ongoing basis. As with most antidepressants, it typically takes up to several weeks to become completely effective.
  • Benzodiazepines – In limited circumstances, your doctor might prescribe a benzodiazepine for the relief of anxiety symptoms. These sedatives are usually used only for relieving acute anxiety on a short-term basis. Because they can be habit-forming, these medications are not a good choice if you have had problems with alcohol or drug abuse.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from generalized anxiety disorder , our expert providers at Specialty Care Clinics will take care of your health and help you recover.

Call us on 469-545-9983 to book an appointment with our specialists.

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