Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Mood and Anxiety Disorders Treatment & Research Program

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Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by an exaggerated or unfounded state of worry and anxiety, often about matters such as health, money, family, or work. Although people with GAD may realize that their anxiety is excessive or unwarranted, they are unable to prevent the onset of anxiety. Those who suffer from GAD often become anxious at the mere thought of possibly having to confront adverse events. GAD can range from mild nervousness to a continuous feeling of dread. Symptoms usually last at least 6 months.

Symptoms may include:

  • Feelings of reslessness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or unsatisfying sleep)
  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle aches
  • Shaky feelings
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms are often initiated by strenuous life circumstances that everone experiences; however, those who suffer from GAD react differently and exhibit the symptoms mentioned above. Oftentimes, General Anxiety Disorder is related to other disorders such as social phobia, depression, substance abuse, and panic disorders.

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