The main feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive, unrealistic and uncontrollable worry about everyday events. This constant worry affects daily functioning and brings physical symptoms. GAD can occur with other anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or substance abuse. It can be misdiagnosed because it lacks some of the dramatic symptoms, such as unprovoked attacks of panic, that are seen with other anxiety disorders. For a diagnosis to be made, uncontrollable worrying occur more days than not for at least 6 months.
The focus of GAD is fluid, shifting unpredictably from job issues, finances, health of both self and family, and smaller issues such as chores, car repairs and being late for appointments. The intensity, duration and frequency of the worry are disproportionate to the issue and interferes with the sufferer’s daily life. Physical symptoms can include muscle tension, sweating, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and/or nausea, cold and clammy palms, the feeling of having a “lump in the throat” and difficulty swallowing. Sufferers are irritable and complain about feeling on edge, tire easily tired and have trouble sleeping.