Anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Occasional feelings of anxiety are typical, particularly when life is stressful. Nevertheless, persistent, overwhelming anxiety and distress that disrupt routine tasks and are beyond one's ability to manage could potentially indicate the presence of generalized anxiety disorder.

Generalized anxiety disorder can manifest in both children and adults.

Long-term living with generalized anxiety disorder can present difficulties. It frequently manifests in conjunction with additional anxiety or mood disorders.
There are several types of anxiety disorders:

  • Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you are afraid of and often avoid places or situations that may make you panic, anxious, or afraid.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) involves persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about even ordinary, routine matters. In this disorder, the anxiety is disproportionate to the actual circumstances, difficult to control, and affects your physical well-being. GAD often occurs in conjunction with other anxiety disorders or depression.
  • Panic disorder involves recurrent episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear that peak within a few minutes (panic attacks). You may experience feelings of imminent death, shortness of breath, chest pain, or heart palpitations as if your heart is going to "jump out" of your chest. These panic attacks can lead to anxiety about having them again or to avoiding situations in which they have already occurred.
  • Selective mutism is the persistent inability of children to speak in certain situations, such as at school, even though they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. It can interfere with learning, work, and social functioning.
  • Social anxiety disorder (sociophobia) involves high levels of anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, shyness, and concern that other people may judge or perceive you negatively.
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder is characterized by symptoms of severe anxiety or panic that are a direct result of substance abuse, medication, exposure to toxic substances, or drug withdrawal.
  • Other specific anxiety disorders and unspecified anxiety disorders are terms for anxiety or phobias that do not meet the exact criteria of any other anxiety disorders but are severe enough to cause distress and affect daily life.
As with many mental health conditions, the cause of generalized anxiety disorder likely arises from a complex interaction of biological and environmental factors, which may include:
  • Differences in brain chemistry and function
  • Genetics
  • Differences in the way threats are perceived
  • Development and personality
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