Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Ed; DSM-IV) is an important book used by mental health professionals to diagnose those people with such problems. The book is published by the American Psychiatric Association and describes the symptoms for all mental disorders.

GAD or generalised anxiety is one of the anxiety disorders included in DSM IV. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry about many topics such as school, life, work and many other things. GAD is also known as “chronic anxiety neurosis” and is also characterized by “free-floating anxiety” and autonomic symptoms such as:

Onset takes place in adolescence or childhood years, but sometimes, it may also appear in early adult years. The symptoms of generalised anxiety evolve gradually and insidiously.

Clinical features include:

  • the patient complains with anxiety
  • he is jumpy and startled
  • sudden movements or noises may be alarming for him
  • the patient is unable to relax and it’s difficult for him to sleep
  • he complains a sense of shakiness and a fine tremor of his hands

If symptoms are mild, there will be little interference in a patient’s life, but in severe cases, he can become “paralysed” by anxiety and unable to function in almost any capacity.

Treatment:

  • cognitive behaviour therapy
  • antidepressants
  • buspirone
  • hydroxyzine
  • propranolol
  • benzodiazepines

It’s difficult to control the anxiety and worry, but some people with the aforementioned symptoms manage to cope with them well enough to have a normal daily life.

 

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