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Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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It is not an out-of-the-way thing to feel low and anxious at distressing and un-called for events in our lives as it is typical human nature. Still, when these upsetting sentiments recur rebelliously, they become an obvious contributing element for upward mental health complications, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder(GAD) in a row with many other psychiatric infirmities. GAD has been professedly reported to agonise the indications of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD), panic attacks, and other strains of anxiety disorder.

Worry is a series of negative feelings or thoughts of threats in the future or that he will die shortly. This excessive worry is considered the leading cause of generalised anxiety disorder. These thoughts are tough to understand from the outside, and people think that such people are silly, but for those experiencing GAD, these worries are genuine and overwhelming. In GAD, your stress doesn’t need to have a specific reason; it can be due to various reasons.

Generalised anxiety disorder is an overwhelming initiator of stress, and it is really frightening as well as challenging to live with this merciless mental entropy. Symptoms of GAD first impact your psychological health, and after deteriorating mental well-being, it affects your physical health, causing lots of physical problems, including paralysis, muscle problems, etc. If your symptoms last for about six months, you require treatment because your symptoms have reached their worse stage. 

Generalised anxiety disorder is when people experience typical, seemingly unmanageable worries about various things in life instead of a specific trigger. People with generalised anxiety disorder usually feel worried about different topics even when there is nothing to worry about. Such people always expect disasters and can’t stop stressing about jobs, relationships, health, family, or finances. 

Alcohol and Panic Attacks

People suffering from GAD feel anxious all the time and often struggle to remember their good days. As soon as one thought disappears, the next thought is always ready to engulf their mind. If you feel anxious about one specific thing, you do not have GAD, and if you are fearful about a particular reason, you have phobias. Generalised anxiety disorder is also characterised by various “what if” statements, such as:

  • What if I can’t do my job?
  • What if I can’t meet my family’s needs?
  • What if I do not crack my exam?
  • What if I get nervous during my interview?

These conditions affect a person’s thinking and can lead to physical symptoms as well.

Generalised anxiety disorder affects about 5-6% of people at some stage in their lives. It commonly begins between early adulthood and late childhood. In children, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety disorder look like GAD, so a psychological health expert carefully finds out why the child is worrying before making a diagnosis. There are a few groups of people who are higher at risk:

Women: women are more likely to develop a generalised anxiety disorder than men.

Older adults: it’s not rare for people to develop generalised anxiety disorder later in life.

Family members: GAD is an inherited disorder means you have greater chances to develop it if any of your family members also had GAD.

People with other psychical illnesses and substance use disorder: people with generalised anxiety disorder usually develop other mental disorders. Mood disorders like depression, substance use disorder, and other anxiety disorders are typically common among individuals with this mental disorder. Since adulthood, people who have started experiencing GAD are more likely to suffer from more than one psychological illness. 

While other psychical health conditions can cause a person to feel depressed about a specific topic, a person with a generalised anxiety disorder is likely to be worried about different situations. In other anxiety illnesses, worry moves around one area only, such as having a panic attack in panic disorder, the possibility of getting sick in health anxiety, or getting rejected by different people in those affected with social phobias. 

While in generalised anxiety disorder, all of the above concerns can co-occur. It is more common than other psychological health disorders, and women are more likely to suffer. GAD primarily develops among 1 in 25 people and has affected about 6% of the UK population.

In other words, people who have experienced generalised anxiety disorder are more exposed to other mental health disorders, such as:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety disorder

When most people think of anxiety, it is a generalised anxiety disorder. GAD has currently affected about 6% of the UK population, but that number is low because many people do not seek treatment and continue bearing anxiety. Some of those people recover on their own, while some people die without knowing the problem. 

GAD is the most common psychological health disorder among mental health disorders in the UK if we see statistics of all the affected people. Many mental health experts say that generalised anxiety disorder is the most common psychological health disorder in the UK and abroad. The number only includes people who have a diagnosable anxiety condition. 

GAD is a treatable condition as patients respond well to psychotherapy and other therapies. Unfortunately, 55 out of 100% of GAD patients seek treatment, and only 22% of those are receiving clinically adequate treatment. Many people seek treatment that doesn’t work or seek nothing at all. 

If you feel that something different is going inside your body and any alarming changes in your doings, you should consult your doctor. He will ask you some questions, and you have to answer them honestly. If you try to hide something, then it is terrible for your health, not for him, because he will prescribe you some medications or give you some suggestions for your recovery, based upon the feelings you have told him. 

While diagnosing generalised anxiety disorder, it becomes difficult to differentiate between other nervous dispositions and GAD. But according to a rule, it is diagnosed if your symptoms are persistent and affecting your daily activities. Some of the questions that your doctor will ask are:

  • He will ask you about your symptoms so that he will be able to provide you with the best treatment.
  • He’ll also ask you if you or your family members have any mental history.
  • He will ask you whether you are taking any medicines or illegal drugs to control your anxiety.
  • He will also do some physical tests to test your heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
  • If you find out that your anxiety is linked with any other health problem, your doctor will perform additional tests to diagnose that. 

GAD Diagnostic Criteria 

The Diagnostic and the Statistical Manual of Mental Health (DSM-5) has given us criteria by which we can know by ourselves whether we are suffering from a generalised anxiety disorder or not. According to DSM-5, generalised anxiety disorder, diagnostic criteria include:

  1. Excessive worry or anxiety, which lasts for more than six months, about several activities or events badly impacting people’s minds.
  2. Feel difficulty in controlling worry
  3. The appearance of at least three symptoms out of six, lasting for many days:
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Easily fatigued
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Muscle tension

DIY Self-Diagnosis

There are some questions if your answer is yes, then you are suffering from generalised anxiety disorder:

  • Are you feeling nervous for the past six months or more?
  • Do you think that your body is very uptight or tense?
  • Do you feel difficulty in sleeping or have wake-up worries or bad dreams?
  • Do you feel that you want to cry and or feel irritated or frustrated?

Professionals advise that people should seek further guidance and information from their general physician, who can carry out a formal diagnosis. 

Along with therapies and medications, there are some positive changes that you can do yourself to relieve your symptoms. Try to follow these tips to increase the speed of your recovery:

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise has lots of benefits for both mental and physical health. Researchers suggest that regular exercise helps in removing tensions and forces the brain to release serotonin-the stress releasing hormone. This will make you feel less worried and will also improve your mood. Such helpful exercises include:

  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Aerobics
  • Jogging or walking
  • Sports such as cricket or football


After getting exercise regularly, learning how to relax is necessary. For this, breathing exercises are beneficial, or you can also prefer some activities, such as pilates or yoga, to help you unwind. 

Avoid Drinking And Smoking.

Alcohol and cigarettes are also known to make symptoms of anxiety worse. To improve your psychical health, quit smoking and alcohol consumption. If you find it difficult, then your doctor can also help you to do it. 

Diet Plan

Changing your diet plan will also help you to relieve your anxiety. To consider, for example, too much caffeine increases your heart rate and disrupts your sleep and thus, makes you feel more anxious. If you are feeling tired, you cannot manage your anxiety symptoms. 

Support Groups For GAD

Support groups usually involve face-to-face meetings where you can discuss all your dilemmas, setbacks, and difficulties with other people, thus encouraging optimistic or good-cheer cornerstones. Moreover, many of them provide guidance and support in writing or over the phone. 

In case you are feeling any effects of GAD, you should consult your physician to become more incisive about the medication by discussing everything you think at hand so that the best in-field experts can support your condition by nurturing the best possible treatment that is good for your mental and physical soundness. 

In addition to that, there are a wide array of coping strategies to overpower generalised anxiety disorder with efficacy, such as psychotherapy, talk therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, medications, and many more. To sum up, with generous, performance-focused, and result-oriented support from skilled specialists, GAD is no more a nightmare.



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