Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterised by extreme anxiety or worrying that is1,2,3:
- Hard to control
- Causes significant distress or problems in social interactions, work, or school
- Occurs on more days than not for at least 6 months
Symptoms of GAD can vary, and include2:
- Constant worrying or anxiety about a number of areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events
- Overthinking plans and solutions to all possible worst-case scenarios
- Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they are not
- Difficulty handling uncertainty
- Indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
- Inability to set aside or let go of a worry
- Inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on edge
- Difficulty concentrating, or the feeling that your mind "goes blank"
Causes of GAD2
Complex interactions of biological and environmental factors can contribute to the development of GAD. These include2:
- Differences in brain chemistry and function
- Differences in the way threats are perceived
- Development and personality
Risk factors for GAD2
Women are at higher risk of developing GAD compared to men.2
Anxiety disorders. April 2022. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Available online at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders#part_2220. [Accessed 05 October 2022].
Symptoms and causes. Generalized anxiety disorder. 13 October 2017. Mayo Clinic Available online at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20360803. [Accessed 05 October 2022].
Bhatt NV. Anxiety disorders. 27 March 2019. Medscape. Available online at https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286227-overview. [Accessed 05 October 2022]