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What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder and how does it manifest?

The main feature of generalized anxiety disorder is a continuous and persistent state of concern for different events, which is excessive in intensity, duration or frequency with respect to the real circumstances, which instead represent events feared by the subject. Anxiety is called “generalized” because it is not limited to certain situations, but, on the contrary, it concerns numerous events and situations. This state is not associated with specific circumstances, it is difficult to control for those who experience it and is present in the subject for most of the time for at least six months.

Excessive concerns are accompanied by at least three of the following symptoms :

  • Restlessness (i.e. restless leg / restlessness syndrome);

  • easy fatigue;

  • difficulty concentrating or memory lapses;

  • irritability;

  • muscle tension, tense muscles sometimes painful;

  • Disturbed sleep (difficulty falling asleep or sleeping, wakes up a little rested).

Those who feel muscle tension can also experience tremors, pain or muscle contractions. Many people who suffer from this disorder also have somatic symptoms such as dry mouth, sticky hands, sweating, cold chills, nausea, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing and a lump in the throat. The concerns of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder have specific characteristics: for example, they are numerous, they happen quickly (at the end of one there is another one), they are accompanied by emotions of alarm, of restlessness and anxiety, they concern catastrophic events futures with a low real probability that they happen, reduce the ability to think clearly, are very difficult to control.

The Options

Some studies have shown that those suffering from this disorder can spend more than half the time in which they are awake to worry about events that do not occur. Often the person, after the failure “misfortune”, recognizes his own concern as excessive and disproportionate. Many worries concern events and everyday situations, for example the person spends a lot of time worrying about possible misfortunes, failures or negative judgments, they can concern family members, social relations, work or study, illnesses, money and finances in general. The most common issues among people affected by the disorder are problems that may arise in the future, perfectionism and fear of failure, fear of being negatively judged by others.

To summarize, therefore, the characteristic concerns of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder relate mostly to events that are far away in time, very unlikely to actually happen, moreover the anxiety that one feels is not “useful” to implement behaviors that would actually reduce the danger that is feared. Other important and typical aspects of this disorder consist on the one hand, in the fact that often the people who suffer from it are worried about having concerns, which are expressed in thoughts like “…. I will not be able to control this concern; … I will never stop worrying …. I will be sick or I will go crazy if I continue to worry about it like this. “

The worries or anxiety about one’s own worries therefore give rise to a vicious circle that continues to aggravate the daily symptoms and difficulties of life, going to affect and inevitably influence the mood and mood of the person affected by this disorder .