Anxiety Disorder

Young lady with messy hair as a symbol of anxiety disorder
A sufferer typically experiences the following:
  • Relentless and exaggerated anxiety in the absence of valid concerns, which can obviously be debilitating.
  • Is prone to always expect the worst.
  • Blows things out of proportion.
  • Grapples with all-consuming fear and dread to the point of it eventually interfering with their ability to live a normal life.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

THERE ARE FIVE MAJOR ANXIETY DISORDERS
Back to top
  1. Generalised anxiety disorder
  2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  3. Panic disorder
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  5. Social phobia (or social anxiety disorder)

This brochure is based on generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF GAD (GENERAL ANXIETY DISORDER)
Back to top

Common symptoms include the following:

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
Back to top

Physical symptoms include the following:

Infographic showing the differences between normal anxiety and gad

Infographic showing the differences between normal anxiety and gad

EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS
Back to top

Emotional symptoms include the following:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling tense or highly strung
  • Being on edge

The above illustrates that generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) cannot be ignored or dismissed as a “mental issue”. On the contrary, it can be crippling and presents immense challenges to an individual’s general health and physical wellbeing.

DEPRESSION VERSUS ANXIETY
Back to top

Although depression and anxiety differ considerably, there are some commonalities, such as the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Excessive worrying
  • Agitation

 

NORMAL STRESS IN COMPARISON TO GAD

THE PROBLEM GOES BEYOND GAD
Back to top

Those with generalised anxiety disorder may, in addition, also experience one or more of the following:

  • Irrational fears
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Clinical depression
  • Addiction problems (drugs, alcohol)
  • Generalised panic disorder
  • Burnout

 

Consequently, GAD cannot be ignored or dismissed as a “mental issue”. Rather, it can be crippling and presents immense challenges to an individual’s general health and physical wellbeing.

The exact cause of generalised anxiety disorder has not yet been established. However, experts agree that several factors may play a role. For example:

  • The incorrect functioning of certain nerve cell pathways, particularly those that are involved with emotions and thinking.
  • These pathways depend on messengers, called neurotransmitters, to connect.
  • Thus, problems with these nerve cell pathways and/or messengers may result in “faulty” connections, and subsequently GAD.
  • Genetics
  • Family history may increase the likelihood of the disorder
  • Environmental factors
  • Trauma
  • Stressful event
  • Substance withdrawal

DIAGNOSIS
Back to top

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) defines the diagnosis for mental health professionals as:
For children, the anxiety and worry are associated with fewer (one or more) of the six symptoms. Conversely, for adults this number is higher (three or more).
The process may entail the following:

  • Medical and psychiatric history
  • A physical examination and lab tests to rule out other causes of the symptoms
  • Reports on the intensity and time-frame of the symptoms
  • Evaluation of the degree of the dysfunction

MANAGEMENT
Back to top

Generalised anxiety disorder is usually managed through medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy, addressing both physical and emotional symptoms.

COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY
Back to top

MEDICATION
Back to top
  • Short-term sedative-hypnotics
  • Certain anti-depressants (SSRI’s & SNRI’s)
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Other ranges of medication may also play a role, including pregabalin and agomelatine

ADDITIONAL MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
Back to top
  • Exercise and a healthy diet
  • Avoiding or reducing caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
  • Adequate sleep
  • A support structure




Anxiety disorder and gad brochure medical references

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

For more health information

Click on the body area you want to know more about. Select a related health topic from the menu

Select a body area
Head
Chest
Abdomen
Pelvis
Legs
Feet
Mental Health
Skin
General
Infant Health
Restlessness and Teething in Babies
Restlessness and Teething in Babies
Although deemed as ‘normal’, teething may be accompanied by a fever, irritability, diarrhoea and poor sleep; amongst other things. Was this ....
Flu
Flu
There has been a steady increase in the number of flu cases reported recently. This is unusual because the flu season usually runs from March to ....
Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea
When is a runny tummy actually diarrhoea, and when to use an ....
Sinus
Sinus
Sinuses are spaces in the bones of your cheeks, your forehead and your ....

Related Brochures