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.