Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) involves excessive anxiety and worryoccurring more days
than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities where the individual finds
it difficult to control the worry. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically
significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The anxiety and worry are associated with at least three (or more) of the following symtoms:
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Feeling easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance
Approximately 7% of the population will suffer from GAD. It has been estimatedthat about 30%
of the causes of GAD are inherited. Inaccurate thinking is a significant causative factor in GAD.
People with GAD seem to be worried that bad things will happen most of the time. They predict
that horrible things will happen and that when they feel anxious it means that something bad is
more likely to happen. Many people who worry feel that their worry provides someprotection and
that if they do not worry bad things are more likely to happen.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has proven to be more effective than medications in the treatment o
GAD and leads to a reduction of medications when they are utilized. About 50% of patients who
receive this type of treatment show significantimprovement that is maintained when treatment is
concluded. CBT will help you to identify and change your beliefs about the costs and benefits of
During the course of treatment for GAD you will also learn to distinguish between productive vs.
unproductive worry and to understand the difference between anxiety that is normal and facilitative
vs. anxiety that is debilitative and counterproductive. In addition to Cognitive Therapy, adjunctive
techniques such as Applied RelaxationTraining, Problem Solving, and Time Management may be very