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If you tend to worry a lot, even when there’s no reason to, you may have generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. It may be something you are so used to, you may think it’s just “how you are”. Common worries include your health, money, family, or work. While everyone worries about these things once in awhile, if you always expect the worst, it can get in the way of living a normal life.
If you have GAD, you may also have another mental health condition such as depression.
GAD can develop when you can’t cope well with your internal stress. It also runs in families, but it’s not understood why some people get it and others don’t. Researchers have shown that the areas of the brain that control fear and anxiety are involved.
GAD can occur as a side effect of a medication or substance abuse. It can also be related to medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, that increase hormones. This can make the body response more excitable. GAD can be triggered by family or environmental stress. Chronic illness and disease can also trigger GAD.
If you have GAD, you likely know that your anxiety is more intense than the situation calls for, but still you can’t stop these unfounded concerns. While each person may experience symptoms differently, the following are the most common symptoms:
The symptoms of GAD may look like other mental health conditions. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
GAD begins gradually, usually in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood, too. It is more common in women. It often runs in families.
Your doctor will consider your overall health, and other factors when advising treatment for you.
Treatment may include:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.