Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Most people feel anxious and worried from time to time when faced with certain situations such as taking an exam, speaking in public or going for a job interview. At times, a certain level of anxiety can help people feel alert and focused. However, if your worries and fears are so constant that they interfere with your ability to function and relax, you may have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is mentally and physically exhausting. It drains your energy, interferes with sleep, and wears your body out. But you can break free from chronic worrying and learn to calm your anxious mind. So, what’s generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)?


Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Unlike a phobia, where your fear is connected to a specific thing or situation, the anxiety of generalized anxiety disorder is diffuse—a general feeling of dread or unease that colors your whole life. This anxiety is less intense than a panic attack, but much longer lasting, making normal life difficult and relaxation impossible.

Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder

The symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder are sometimes not all that obvious as they often develop gradually. Given that we all experience some anxiety at some points in time, it can be hard to know how much is too much.

Some common symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)  include:

  • hot and cold flushes
  • racing heart
  • tightening of the chest
  • snowballing worries
  • obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour

Specifically, a person may have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).  IF, for six months or more and on more days than not, they have:

  • felt excessive worry or anxiety
  • found it difficult to gain control or calm down during a period of anxiety
  • found that the anxiety made it difficult to carry out everyday activities such as working, studying or socializing with friends and family.

In addition to these symptoms, people with generalised anxiety disorder ( GAD) also will have experienced three or more of the following:

  • felt restless or on edge
  • tired easily
  • had difficulty concentrating
  • felt irritable
  • had muscle tension (for example, a sore jaw or back)
  • had problems sleeping (for example, difficulty falling asleep, or restless sleep).

People with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) may also experience derealisation – a sense that you or the world around you is not real. This symptom is thought to be associated with the physiological changes that occurring the body during the anxiety response. It’s important to note that this is only a guide to recognizing generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) . It will not provide a diagnosis – for that you need to see a health professional. People with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) may have also related disorders, most commonly depression, social phobia (characterized by avoidance of social situations) and panic disorder. They may also misuse alcohol or drugs and may experience a range of physical health problems such as headaches, irritable bowel syndrome or heart disease.

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