Excessive worry and apprehension are associated with general anxiety disorders. Individuals may experience restlessness, irritability, problems in concentration, muscular tension, and problems sleeping. Excessive worry about a variety of aspects of life is common, with anxiety being diffuse rather than related to a specific fear (phobia), rituals or obsessions (obsessive-compulsive disorder), or physical complaints (somatoform disorder). These disorders have been characterized as neuroses, as they all are associated with anxiety of one type or another. The term neurosis is a broad one and, because of its general nature, is used infrequently most frequently by early theorists such as Freud, Jung, and Adler. In general, the term anxiety disorder can be said to include nonspecific neuroses or anxiety.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.
Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview.
During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.
But some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.
Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including:
panic disorder, phobias, such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
The information in this section is about a specific condition called generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
GAD is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than 1 specific event.
People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.
As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.
Symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include:
feeling restless or worried, having trouble concentrating or sleeping, dizziness or heart palpitations
What causes generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)?
The exact cause of GAD is not fully understood, although it's likely that a combination of several factors plays a role. Research has suggested that these may include:
1. overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour
2. an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood
3. the genes you inherit from your parents – you're estimated to be 5 times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition
4. having a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, child abuse or bullying
5. having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis
6. having a history of drug or alcohol misuse
7. But many people develop GAD for no apparent reason.
8. Who's affected
Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is more common in people from the ages of 35 to 59.