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Posted by on Thursday, September 16, 2010, 22:43
This news item was posted in Brain, G, Mental health category and has 3 Comments so far.

Diagnostic Features:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition characterized by excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not for a period of at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities. The individual finds it difficult to control the worry. The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of another mental disorder such as having a Panic Attack (as in Panic Disorder), being embarrassed in public (as in Social Phobia), being contaminated (as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), being away from home or close relatives (as in Separation Anxiety Disorder), gaining weight (as in Anorexia Nervosa), having multiple physical complaints (as in Somatization Disorder), or having a serious illness (as in Hypochondriasis), and the anxiety does not occur exclusively during Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. This disorder is not due to a medical condition, medication, or abused substance. It does not occur exclusively during a Mood Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.



Individuals with this disorder have more pain and physical illness and decreased physical, social, and role functioning. Symptoms of autonomic hyperarousal (e.g., accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness) are less prominent in this disorder than in other Anxiety Disorders, such as Panic Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Depressive symptoms are also common.


This disorder often co-occurs with Mood Disorders (e.g., Major Depressive Disorder or Dysthymic Disorder), with other Anxiety Disorders (e.g., Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Specific Phobia), and with Substance-Related Disorders (e.g., alcoholism or drug dependence). Other stress related disorders (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome, headaches) frequently accompany this disorder.

Associated Laboratory Findings:

No laboratory test has been found to be diagnostic of this disorder.


In a community sample, the 1-year prevalence rate for this disorder is 3%, and the lifetime prevalence rate is 5%. The sex ratio is approximately two-thirds female.


Over half of those presenting for treatment report onset in childhood or adolescence, however onset occurring after age 20 is not uncommon. The course is chronic but fluctuating and often worsens during times of stress. During the course of the disorder, the focus of worry may shift from one concern to another.

Familial Pattern:

Anxiety as a trait has a familial association. Twin studies suggest a genetic contribution to the development of this disorder. The genetic factors influencing risk of Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be closely related to those for Major Depressive Disorder.

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