Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. In the case of this disorder, symptoms must last at least 6 months. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, Friendship problems, Interpersonal relationship problems or work difficulties. Individuals often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, fidgeting, headaches, nausea, numbness in hands and feet, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, bouts of difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, trembling, twitching, irritability, agitation, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, hot flashes, and rashes and inability to fully control the anxiety (ICD-10). These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least six months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced. Approximately 6.8 million American adults experience GAD, and 2 percent of adult Europeans, in any given year, experience GAD.
Standardized rating scales such as GAD-7 can be used to assess severity of generalized anxiety disorder symptoms. It is the most common cause of disability in the workplace in the United States.
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