Generalized Anxiety Disorder also known as GAD controls people with worries so severe, it affects their everyday lives. It’s defined as an inability to function and relax. People with GAD worry about things that normal people worry about such as their jobs, families, children, school, etc. but people with GAD take it to an obsessive level. People with GAD feel tense and angry all day for no specific reason. There are psychological symptoms of GAD as well as physical symptoms. Psychologically, people are irritable majority of the time and feel severe feelings of dreading the days or nights. They have a hard time falling and/or staying asleep, and have an inability to control their anxious thoughts. People with GAD often times have a fear of being rejected or losing control but not being able to specify exactly what they would lose control of. Physical symptoms of GAD consist of having bodily aches and pains to the point where one may need to see a chiropractor or seek other physical therapy. People with generalized anxiety disorder often have stomach problems, feel nauseous or have diarrhea. People with GAD have a hard time holding themselves steadily and shake in their hands or legs. They get tired out very easily and feel tired even if they have not done much physical or mental activity all day. Some feel the opposite and are edgy and restless and constantly need to be occupying their mind and body.
Causes of GAD
GAD can be caused by both environmental and genetic factors. Stressors such as work, relationships, genetics, sleep deprivation and sleep inconsistency can increase ones anxiety level. An anxiety disorder is generally characterized by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The two chemicals that are imbalanced are dopamine and serotonin. The levels of these chemicals can be altered by certain drugs. There is said to be a direct correlation of GAD and insomnia, depression, phobia disorders, and panic disorders. There is also a twenty percent risk of GAD through blood relatives and a ten percent chance amongst relatives with depression. GAD depression can be paired with irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and headaches. GAD very often coexists with depression.
Social generalized anxiety disorder also known as SAD is known as a social phobia. One who is diagnosed has intense fears of social situations. This fear is so intensive that it causes impaired ability to function throughout daily life encounters. SAD is triggered originally by an initial humiliation amongst peers. Individuals are constantly embarrassed of one’s own actions. Panic attacks often occur and unless treated by a doctor, some self medicate with drugs and alcohol to rid of this disorder.
For treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, the most commonly used drugs are benzodiazepines. Tolerance grows very rapidly to this class of medications and side effects are less than favorable. Withdrawal symptoms occur abruptly once the medicine is discontinued and consist of increased anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Seizures are also highly likely and withdrawal effects are more severe as a whole in patients with higher doses or who currently use tobacco. Withdrawals happen with all benzodiazepines. Since benzodiazepines are highly addictive and have a high rate of reoccurring anxiety in patients, other medications have been proved to be a more gentle treatment for GAD. Buspirone is used in patients with chronic anxiety and in patients who have reoccurring anxiety after a treatment of benzodiazepines. Effexor, which has been more commonly used recently, is the first drug in the US to be labeled an anxiolytic as well as an antidepressant. Trazadone is also prescribed as treatment for GAD though because of its sedating side effects, it is more commonly used in patients with insomnia. Antihistamines can also be used to treat anxiety but they are more rarely used than all the other medications. The above listed medications mixed with cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven treatment for general anxiety disorder as well as generalized social anxiety disorder.