What is Anxiety?

This is week 2 of a 5-part series that I’m doing on some of the most common mental health conditions. For last week’s post on depression, click here.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

It’s safe to say that if you’re reading this, you’ve experienced some form of anxiety (worry, fear, dread) in your lifetime. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders and occurs when excessive worry persists daily for at least 6 months. This overwhelming worry is out of proportion with the stressors that the person is facing. GAD results in physical, emotional, and social impairments.

Symptoms of GAD include:

  • Difficulty managing worry
  • Worrying about a variety of triggers (hence the term, “generalized”)
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Concentration issues
  • Tense muscles (my anxiety seems to live in my neck, shoulders, and abdomen)
  • Issues with sleeping (usually insomnia)

If a person has had 3 or more of these symptoms for a minimum of 6 months, then they may meet the clinical criteria for GAD. With that being said, there are other anxiety disorders that might be a better fit for the aforementioned symptoms including social anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, depression (with anxious distress), or panic disorder. Some people with GAD suffer from panic attacks and may meet the clinical criteria for panic disorder, which I will discuss further in the last part of this series.


If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, consider the following:

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