What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a disorder that little is understood about. It is unknown what the precipitating factors are, or what the predisposing factors are. Many believe that it is a state that is a chronic, residual effect of other anxiety disorders. People are usually given this diagnosis when they have some of the diagnostic criteria of other anxiety disorders, but do not meet the full criteria for them. More than 50% of those with generalized anxiety disorder are also diagnosed with having a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder.

Essentially, the persons with this diagnosis are chronically worried. They spend much of their days in a state that is on edge, irritable and distractible, and fatigued due to the anxiety. There is no specific focus for the anxiety. They usually have impaired social and work functioning.

psychotherapy is as effective as medication in the treatment of those with generalized anxiety disorder in most patients. The goal of psychotherapy is to attempt to find the stressors that produce the anxiety, and to find better ways to cope with stress. When medication is needed, often Wellbutrin is utilized, as it has no risk of dependence and limited side effects. Benzodiazepines may be used for acute attacks on a limited basis.

Derek Wood is a Nationally Board Certified Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse, and holds a Master's degree in Psychology. His experience in the online arena of mental health can be traced back to 1997, when he was a host for Online Psych on AOL. He joined Get Mental Help, Inc. as Clinical Content Director for Mental Health Matters. Derek, with his wife Lisa, developed the original version of psychTracker (then called A Mood Journal), after his diagnosis with Schizo-Affective Bipolar, when they could not find a system available that was robust enough to help him effectively manage his symptoms and accurately interpret his charting. Derek has worked in the field of mental health since 2001, as a Unit Manager of an adult long-term treatment facility, a charge nurse in an adolescent short-term inpatient facility and long-term residential facility, and as a School Psychologist. He has also written several articles which are being used as CEU for nurses and educators.

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