The precise symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can vary from person to person, both in type and severity. They can also vary based on a person’s age. For example, younger people may feel anxiety regarding different things than older people affected by GAD.
Generalized anxiety disorder can cause symptoms that affect your emotions, your behavior and your physical health. Emotional symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can include:
- Worrying excessively about common, everyday events, tasks and occurrences
- Finding it difficult to control feelings of nervousness, anxiety and worry
- Intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety and are difficult to get out of your mind
- Persistent, ubiquitous thoughts of apprehension and worry
- Needing to know what’s going on in any situation, or in the future
- Difficulty dealing with uncertainty and unpredictability
Behavioral symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can include:
- Finding it difficult to relax, even in quiet, peaceful situations
- Planning excessively for certain situations
- Difficulty concentrating on specific tasks
- Struggling to make decisions, or worrying about making the wrong decision
- Avoiding certain situations due to worry and anxiety
- Delaying or avoiding certain tasks
Physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Fatigue or a general, ongoing lack of energy
- Feelings of light-headedness
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Headaches and other unexplained pains
- Trembling, twitching and generally feeling jumpy
- Diarrhea, nausea and irritable bowel syndrome
- Needing to use the bathroom more than normal
- Muscle aches and tension
- Difficulty swallowing
In younger people, generalized anxiety symptoms may include excessive anxiety about school or college, their performance in sports, relationships or other factors. Some young people may experience significant anxiety regarding catastrophic events.
Younger people with generalized anxiety disorder, such as children and teens, may exhibit the following symptoms and behaviors:
- Lacking confidence and requiring reassurance about themselves
- Striving for approval from other people
- Feelings of perfectionism, or a need to repeatedly redo tasks until they’re perfect
- Excessively doing homework and other school-related tasks
- Avoiding school and other situations that require them to socialize
In adults, symptoms often revolve around everyday events and concerns, such as physical and mental health, careers, finances, household tasks, relationships and their families.
The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder may vary in severity from one specific moment to another.
Some people with GAD may experience worse symptoms in stressful periods, such as during a personal conflict, or during an education or career-related crunch time.
This is a helpful and informative article that can assist individuals in identifying and understanding their symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
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