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  Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder described as excessive and uncontrollable worry about every minute details and everyday things. There should be a disproportion between the frequency, intensity and duration of the worry to the actual source of worry and this often interferes with the daily functional activities of the person.

Anxiety
Anxiety


Those who are suffering from generalized anxiety disorder often worry excessively about almost anything ranging from their job, finances, health, family and even to trivial things like deadlines of appointments, maintenance of cleanliness in their house, workspace organization, etc.

The following are the criteria that must be met for a person to be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV-Text Revision):

1. Excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for at least six months.
2. The person finds it difficult to control the worry.
3. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months). Only one item is required for children.
a. easy fatigability
b. irritability
c. muscle tension
d. difficulty concentrating
e. restlessness or feeling edgy
f. disturbances in sleep (unrefreshed sleep or difficulty in initiating or staying asleep)
g. excessive sweating
4. The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of an Axis I disorder e.g. panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, anorexia nervosa, somatization disorder, hypochondriasis, posttraumatic stress disorder.
5. The anxiety, worry or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
6. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g. drug abuse) or general medical condition (e.g. hyperthyroidism) and does not occur exclusively during a Mood Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

GAD most often affects people in childhood or adolescence, but can also begin in adulthood too. Women are afflicted more often than men. About two-thirds of cases with GAD are female. Prevalence among the elderly is likewise seen. Onset of generalized anxiety disorder is in early adulthood and usually in response to a stressful life event. Some researchers suggest that it may run in families and may even get worse during stress. Once it develops, it is chronic. Patients can also be categorized as having mixed anxiety-depressive disorder, and they are at significantly increased risk of developing full-blown depression or anxiety. In fact, 58% of patients diagnosed with major depression were found to have an anxiety disorder according to the National Comorbidity Survey (2005).

Evidence indicates that those patients with comorbid depression and anxiety tend to have greater illness severity and lower response to treatment than those with either disorder alone. The impairment to social functioning and quality of life is likewise more severe in these cases. Other coexisting conditions with GAD are substance abuse or other conditions associated with stress such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is therefore important to probe more for the presence of anxiety symptoms to patients complaining of insomnia or headaches because it may be helpful in diagnosing a person that is suffering from GAD.

Treatment for GAD includes medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Combination of the two has proved to be most effective in alleviating the symptoms. The following are the different classes of drugs commonly used to treat anxiety disorder: Selective Serotonin Receptor Inhibitor (SSRIs) e.g. sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil); Benzodiazepenes (diazepam and alprazolam) and buspirone (BuSpar). SSRIs are actually effective for both anxiety and depression. Benzodiazepenes are sometime used in the short-term treatment to alleviate symptoms but not prolonged period of time because of its addictive properties. The drug buspirone (BuSpar) is sometimes added to or instead of SSRIs in the treatment of GAD.

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Diazepam tablets

Diazepam

Diazepam, one of a group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines, is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant. Diazepam is used as an Amnestic, an Anitanxiety Agent, Anticonvulsant, an Antipanic and Antitremor Agent, a Sedative, and Muscle Relaxant. It is used more...

Paxil tablets

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Xanax tablets

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Xanax is one of a group of medicines known as Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants that are used as antianxiety and antipanic agents, but are also used as antitremor medicines and as a sedative. Xanax may also be more...

Lorazepam tablets

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Lorazepam is one of a group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines that are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. Lorazepam is used to relieve anxiety, and to treat panic disorder. Be sure to tell your doctor of any allergies you have whether it is to m more...

Ativan tablets

Ativan

Ativan, known also as Lorazepam, is a Benzodiazepine that belongs to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Ativan is used as an Amnestic, Antianxiety Agent, Anticonvulsant, Antiemetic in Cancer Chemotherapy, Antipanic Age more...

Clonazepam tablets

Clonazepam

Clonazepam, known also as Klonopin, is one of a group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines that are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. Clonazepam is used to relieve anxiety, and to treat panic disorder. Be sure to tell your doctor of any allergies more...

Valium tablets

Valium

Valium, may also be called Diazepam, and is one of the Benzodiazepine group of medicines. These are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants and are used to relieve anxiety. Valium is also used to help relax muscles or relieve muscle spasm. Valium injecti more...

Alprazolam tablets

Alprazolam

Alprazolam is one of a group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines that are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. Alprazolam is used to relieve anxiety, and to treat panic disorder. Be sure to tell your doctor of any allergies you have whether more...

Zoloft tablets

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Zoloft, sometimes called Sertraline, is used to treat mental depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Zocor belongs to a group of medicines kno more...

Sertraline

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Sertraline is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms. more...


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