Experiencing some degree of anxiety is a normal aspect of life. If those transient feelings become excessive, chronic, or interfere with a person’s ability to function effectively, a generalized anxiety disorder may be present. Patients with GAD tend to fret about almost anything that might happen in the future. They may even worry about being worried. They can become preoccupied with their physical health or just feel tired all the time for no reason.
A GAD patient’s perceived trigger of the anxiety can also vary from time to time and is often susceptible to daily events, such as world news, personal losses, or any kind of change—both positive and negative. Children and adolescents may focus on school performance, nuclear war, need for approval, or perfectionism, while older adults may become apprehensive about memory slips and physical decline.
DO YOU HAVE GAD GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER?
Ask yourself if you have any of the following symptoms. If you find yourself checking off several of the boxes, GAD may be the source of your unease.
- easily startled
- chronic fatigue
- trouble concentrating
- persistent rumination
- muscle tension
Bruce knew me from when I treated his father for Alzheimer’s disease, and when he absolutely couldn’t stand his symptoms anymore, he sought me out and made an appointment. As I listened to him describe his anxiety symptoms, a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder seemed like a no-brainer, but there were other possible contributing factors to rule out first. Bruce’s attempt at meditation failed because he was too easily distracted whenever he tried it, which could have indicated an attention deficit disorder. His shortness of breath and episodic nature of his symptoms suggested possible panic attacks.