Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by the persistent and excessive worry. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry. They may worry more than what seems to be warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern. GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms that include but are not limited to; feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge, increased heart rate, difficulty concentrating, or having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom. Anxiety disorders may relate to a difficulty tolerating uncertainty and therefore many people with GAD try to plan or control situations.
GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder manifests gradually and can begin across the life cycle, with the risk being highest between childhood and middle age. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and stressful life events are the culprits.