Anxiety neurosis is the psychological disorder most commonly referred to as generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. Sufferers of GAD make up nearly 1/5 of all anxiety diagnoses in adults, or 3.1 percent of the U.S. population. Characterized by excessive, exaggerated worrying or fear about everyday issues such as money, family, work or health, the symptoms of GAD can be overwhelming, at times to the point of being completely debilitating.
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Physical symptoms of generalized anxiety can be similar to or experienced as an anxiety or panic attack. Specifically, GAD symptoms felt in the body can include headaches and body aches, muscle tension, difficulty swallowing, trembling or twitching, sweating, gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea, diarrhea, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, feeling out of breath, hot flashes, and having to visit the bathroom often. In addition, sufferers of GAD can experiences sleep difficulties or insomnia, restlessness, fatigue or feeling tired for seemingly unknown reasons.
Behind GAD is worrying that is constant, chronic and unsubstantiated, experienced at a level of severity much more than the anxiety most people have from time to time. Sometimes just getting through the day can cause or increase feelings of anxiety. This tendency to ruminate can last all day, interfering with school, work or family, and causing sufferers to adopt a pessimistic attitude in which they always fear the worst.
In addition to worrying about everyday tasks and activities, people with GAD might worry about punctuality, conformity and perfectionism, the latter making them so unsure of themselves that they need to redo tasks in order to meet their perceived level of perfection.
Other Psychological Symptoms
Aside from the physical symptoms and worrying that define GAD, other symptoms that sufferers can experience include being easily distracted and having a hard time concentrating. When this affects their ability to complete tasks such as work duties or meeting deadlines, it can be a precursor to feeling even more anxious.
Operating at a heightened level of anxiety also makes those who suffer from GAD more prone to being on edge, and thus, more easily startled. When combined with fatigue or feeling exhausted from lack of quality sleep, it can increase the tendency to be moody or irritable.