Generalised anxiety disorder

Overview

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is defined as excessive worry and tension about everyday events and problems, on most days, for at least 6 months, to the point where the person experiences distress or has marked difficulty in performing day-to-day tasks.[1] It may be characterised by the following symptoms and signs: increased motor tension (fatigability, trembling, restlessness, and muscle tension); autonomic hyperactivity (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, dry mouth, cold hands, and dizziness); and increased vigilance and scanning (feeling keyed up, increased startling, and impaired concentration), but not by panic attacks.[1] One non-systematic review of epidemiological and clinical studies found marked reduction in quality of life and psychosocial functioning in people with anxiety disorders, including GAD.[2] It also found that people with GAD had low overall life satisfaction, and some impairment in ability to fulfil roles, social tasks, or both.[2]