Anxiety neurosis is the psychological disorder most commonly referred to as generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD 12. Sufferers of GAD make up nearly 1/5 of all anxiety diagnoses in adults, or 3.1 percent of the U.S. population. Characterized by excessive, exaggerated worrying or fear about everyday issues such as money, family, work or health, the symptoms of GAD can be overwhelming, at times to the point of being completely debilitating.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Physical symptoms of generalized anxiety can be similar to or experienced as an anxiety or panic attack 1. In addition, sufferers of GAD can experiences sleep difficulties or insomnia, restlessness, fatigue or feeling tired for seemingly unknown reasons.
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Behind GAD is worrying that is constant, chronic and unsubstantiated, experienced at a level of severity much more than the anxiety most people have from time to time. Sometimes just getting through the day can cause or increase feelings of anxiety. This tendency to ruminate can last all day, interfering with school, work or family, and causing sufferers to adopt a pessimistic attitude in which they always fear the worst.
In addition to worrying about everyday tasks and activities, people with GAD might worry about punctuality, conformity and perfectionism, the latter making them so unsure of themselves that they need to redo tasks in order to meet their perceived level of perfection.
- Behind GAD is worrying that is constant, chronic and unsubstantiated, experienced at a level of severity much more than the anxiety most people have from time to time.
- This tendency to ruminate can last all day, interfering with school, work or family, and causing sufferers to adopt a pessimistic attitude in which they always fear the worst.
Other Psychological Symptoms
Aside from the physical symptoms and worrying that define GAD, other symptoms that sufferers can experience include being easily distracted and having a hard time concentrating. When this affects their ability to complete tasks such as work duties or meeting deadlines, it can be a precursor to feeling even more anxious.
Operating at a heightened level of anxiety also makes those who suffer from GAD more prone to being on edge, and thus, more easily startled. When combined with fatigue or feeling exhausted from lack of quality sleep, it can increase the tendency to be moody or irritable.
- Aside from the physical symptoms and worrying that define GAD, other symptoms that sufferers can experience include being easily distracted and having a hard time concentrating.
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- Psychology Today: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Symptoms)
- Anxiety Disorders Assoc. of America: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Anxiety Disorders Assoc. of America: GAD Symptoms
- Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (book)
- Anxiety Disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Revised July 2018.
- Gregory KD, Chelmow D, Nelson HD, et al. Screening for anxiety in adolescent and adult women: A recommendation from the Women's Preventive Services Initiative. Ann Intern Med. 2020. doi:10.7326/M20-0580
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Stewart Brently is an American expat in Taiwan. He has been writing and editing professionally since 2005 and is the owner of The Writing Clinic, a copyediting firm specializing in medical and other academic manuscripts. His publications include EFL textbooks, business and marketing materials, and books on Chinese-English translation. His areas of expertise are health psychology, whole-foods cooking, religion and spirituality, and Vipassana and qi gong meditation. Brently is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at National Chengchi University.