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Anxiety

Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can't stop worrying about health, money, family, work or school. In people with generalized anxiety disorder, the worry often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person's thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities and relationships.

Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
  • An unrealistic view of problems
  • Restlessness or a feeling of being "edgy"
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • The need to go to the bathroom frequently
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Trembling
  • Being easily startled

Medicines are available to treat generalized anxiety disorder and may be especially helpful for people whose anxiety is interfering with daily functioning. The medications most often used to treat generalized anxiety disorder are from a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These medications are sometimes referred to as "tranquilizers," because they leave you feeling calm and relaxed. They work by decreasing the physical symptoms of GAD, such as muscle tension and restlessness. Common benzodiazepines include Xanax, Librium, Valium and Ativan. Another medicine, BuSpar, also may be used to treat chronic anxiety. BuSpar works by affecting the activity of certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Unlike the benzodiazepines, BuSpar does not cause sedation (sleepiness) or lead to dependency. Antidepressants, such as Paxil and Effexor, are also being used to treat generalized anxiety disorder.