Generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is stronger than normal anxiety. Everyone is anxious sometimes. But anxiety becomes a disorder when it happens almost all the time.

closeup of a person washing hands

GAD is short for generalized anxiety disorder. If you have GAD, you feel very anxious. Anxious is the nervous feeling people get before an important event. Most people have this feeling sometimes. But if you feel this way most of the time, even when you do not have any important things to do, you may have GAD.

Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder

You may feel other things if you have GAD:

  • chest pain
  • very fast heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • stomach pains
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • muscle pains
  • anger
  • confusion

You may also act differently if you have GAD:

  • You may avoid or stop going to events (parties, work, school, etc.)
  • You may become very scared of things that you were not scared of before
  • You may start to worry too much about things you normally do not need to worry about.
  • You may start to obsess over things you used to not obsess over. Obsess is when you spend too much time on one thing. For example, you may feel like you have to wash your hands all the time. Or you may feel very bad about things in the news that you cannot control.

You may have GAD for many reasons. Some reasons you may have GAD are:

  • You have had a traumatic experience. A traumatic experience is when something terrible and stressful happens to you. For example, you had experienced violence or were a victim of a crime
  • You had anxiety when you were a child or teenager.
  • You drink a lot of alcohol or take a lot of drugs.
  • You had a difficult childhood.

Like all other mental health problems, you can get help for GAD. People of all ages have GAD, and it can start anytime. If you have anxiety most of the time, seek help from a doctor.