What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Although there are many types of anxiety disorders, the most common and most basic is called, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (according to the DSM IV) is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry that is often difficult to control or stop. Individuals find it hard to keep fears and worried thoughts from interfering with their daily lives. Individuals often ruminate and preoccupy themselves over everyday circumstances around their jobs, finances, their health as well as the health of their families. Many individuals suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder become overly preoccupied with minor matters such as, car repairs, shopping for the home, being late for appointments, etc. Often times, the intensity of the anxiety and worry is out of proportion to the true reality or likelihood of the stressor itself.
According to the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the ongoing worry and preoccupation described is usually accompanied by:
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)
Some individuals suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder experience, cold and clammy hands, sweating, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, urinary frequency, trouble swallowing or a “lump in the throat” and an exaggerated startle response, or a severe “jumpiness” and sensitivity to loud noises and quick movement.