Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might worry about things like health, money, or family problems. But people with GAD feel extremely worried or feel nervous about these and other things—even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. People with GAD find it difficult to control their anxiety and stay focused on daily tasks.

What are the signs and symptoms of GAD?

GAD develops slowly. It often starts during the teen years or young adulthood. People with GAD may:


  • Worry very much about everyday things
  • Have trouble controlling their worries or feelings of nervousness
  • Know that they worry much more than they should
  • Feel restless and have trouble relaxing
  • Have a hard time concentrating
  • Be easily startled
  • Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feel easily tired or tired all the time
  • Have headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains
  • Have a hard time swallowing
  • Tremble or twitch
  • Be irritable or feel “on edge”
  • Sweat a lot, feel light-headed or out of breath
  • Have to go to the bathroom a lot

Symptoms may get better or worse at different times, and they are often worse during times of stress, such as with a physical illness, during exams at school, or during a family or relationship conflict.

How is GAD treated?

GAD is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. It is important to first talk to your doctor about your symptoms. An exam and review of your health history can help to make sure that an unrelated physical problem is not causing your symptoms. 

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Please remember this information is intended for educational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice from a healthcare provider.