What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a constant sense of worry and fear that interferes with daily life. Commonly referred to by psychiatrists as "free floating anxiety," people with GAD find it difficult to control feelings of nervousness and worry.
What Causes Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
The direct cause of generalized anxiety disorder is still unknown. It is understood, however, that the following factors can contribute towards an induced risk of an anxiety disorder:
- Chemical imbalances
- Long-lasting stress
- Family history of anxiety
- Abuse of biological agents such as alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): a psychiatric therapy technique that encourages the patient to learn the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This, in turn, allows them to visualize the underlying cause of their anxiety.
- ABCtracker™: a CBT-based self-help program, the ABCTracker™ was created by psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The program was designed to keep a record of your anxiety and allows users to pinpoint their triggers and alarms.
Medications For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Frequently used medication for GAD, common SSRIs include fluoxetime (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), and fluvoxamine (Luvox). These medications strengthen the signal between serotonin and certain neurons, resulting in a reduction of anxiety.
- Benzodiazepines: Effective medication for anxiety, common benzodiazepines include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), and alprazolam (Xanax). These medications are not as widely used as they once were because unlike SSRIs, they have the potential to cause addiction and potentially dangerous withdrawal syndromes if they are abruptly stopped after being taken for a prolonged period of time.