Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by widespread and persistent anxiety that can appear in any situation. People with this disease are always in a state of restlessness, anxiety, and sleep problems, so their health and quality of life are also severely reduced.

What is generalized anxiety disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is also known as generalized anxiety disorder. This is a psycho-psychiatric disease belonging to the group of anxiety disorders, characterized by states of anxiety, restlessness, panic, and tension before ambiguous situations and events.

Generalized anxiety disorder

The anxiety of GAD patients is limitless, so it is difficult to control

Statistics show that anxiety disorders are one of the most common diseases, often with onset before the age of 25, with almost equal proportions of men and women. People with this disease are often in a state of restlessness, anxiety, panic for any reason, even when a leaf falls, they startle themselves.

The anxiety of people with GAD seems to be limitless, stretching, so it is difficult to control. If the disease is not quickly detected and treated in time, there is a risk of progressing to a chronic disease that is difficult to treat and also difficult to fully recover, and there is also a risk of recurrence later.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The signs of generalized anxiety disorder are diverse, manifesting both psychologically and physically. Sometimes the physical symptoms overshadow the psychological problems that make many people confused in treatment, so it is necessary to be extremely cautious.

Generalized anxiety disorder

The patient always has feelings of restlessness, worrying excessively about a certain issue

Psychological signs include

  • Always feel restless, worried for no reason and can’t control it
  • Loss of concentration, easily startled and agitated
  • Having outbursts of thoughts that don’t match reality
  • Feeling annoyed, frustrated, easily angry, irritable
  • May panic to the point of difficulty breathing, chest tightness, increased blood pressure
  • Always feel heavy, can’t rest as usual
  • The ability to study and work is reduced due to inability to concentrate, there are always invisible fears nearby
  • Having many serious problems with sleep, not being able to sleep or having frequent nightmares, easily startled awake
  • Dizziness, shaking, feeling like mind is blank
  • Overeating or loss of appetite can also be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder

The problems that make people worry can be very simple problems, but for people with generalized anxiety disorder, they can be extremely serious. A problem A can be solved at step B, but the patient can think about steps E, F, G, and H and can’t control it.

For example, before an exam, the patient is not only worried about not getting a high score, but also worried that the day of the exam will be stuck in traffic, may have an accident, may have stomachache.. This worry can end after having a test. test scores and other worries began to continue unceasingly.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Not only psychological problems, symptoms are also expressed through headaches, stomach pain

Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Having heart problems such as heart palpitations, palpitations, angina. People with generalized anxiety disorder also have a higher-than-average risk of heart problems
  • Having problems in the digestive system such as acid reflux, heartburn, or nausea, hot bowel. Patients also have a higher risk of problems such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome or stomach pain
  • Often feel tight muscles, pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Insomnia often leads to headaches, dizziness, dizziness, and memory loss. People with this disease often have to use drugs or sleep aids to improve
  • Body weakness due to lack of sleep, inadequate eating and a few other problems

Physical symptoms are often more pronounced than psychological problems, so many people are confused between these signs. Improper treatment increases the risk of an anxiety disorder worsening. Patients should go to the hospital for examination when they see abnormal signs for a long time to detect the disease most accurately.

Causes of generalized anxiety disorder

There are many causes of generalized anxiety disorder, in which genetic factors, events from the past, frequent obstacles in life are assessed as factors related to the risk of causing anxiety disorder. sick. Understanding the cause of the disease will bring the patient the most effective treatment.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Genetic factors are thought to be directly related to the causative agent

In particular, some of the issues thought to be associated with disease risk include

  • Genetic factors: Studies have shown that if one parent has an anxiety disorder, the risk of the child having it is also very high. This includes not only genetic factors but also the upbringing process, which affects the psychology of children from infancy to adulthood.
  • Prolonged stress: in people who are often stressed because they often fail, face many difficulties in life, and work pressure is also assessed as having a high risk of disease.
  • Neurotransmitter Deficiency: Several studies have also shown ventricular encephalopathy in patients with anxiety disorders to have deficiencies in neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin. This will increase stress, reduce nerve stimulation, bring a feeling of happiness to the patient.
  • Past events: unhappy childhood, terrible accidents, kidnapping, prolonged violence also directly affect the nerves and cause psychological problems.
  • Personality disorders: studies have also shown that in patients with personality disorders, there is also a link to generalized anxiety disorder.

From a psychoanalytic perspective, neuroscientist Sigismund Schlomo Freud said that excessive anxiety may have its roots in adolescence due to “too harshly punished” and “overly enclosed”. On the other hand, people with low social status, low economic status, people who are under too much pressure from work are also prone to this situation.

Consequences of generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder can cause a lot of health and mental health consequences and seriously impair the quality of daily life. People with this condition almost never stop being so anxious that they never get a full rest.

Generalized anxiety disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder experience many effects in their daily lives

If the disease progresses to a chronic stage that is difficult to completely eliminate, patients may need to maintain follow-up visits to ensure symptom control. Specifically, some of the effects of generalized anxiety disorder on patients include:

  • Increased risk of dangerous diseases such as heart disease, blood pressure, or stomach
  • Affects relationships due to the patient’s tendency to become irritable, angry, or to behave oddly
  • It is difficult for the patient to do group work if he cannot control his excessive emotions. Some people also tend to stay indoors, limiting going out to reduce the dangers they think may occur when going out.
  • Chronic insomnia causes patients’ health to deteriorate, increasing the risk of migraines, vestibular disorders and many other dangerous problems.
  • The patient’s anxieties are difficult for those around him to understand, so the patient is prone to depression at the same time. If the patient has these two diseases at the same time, they tend to hurt themselves, think about death or even commit suicide to release their difficult emotions.
  • If it is related to the personality disorder or the stress continues, the risk of relapse and progression to chronic disease is still very high.

Diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder needs to be properly diagnosed in a hospital/psychiatry department or psychotherapy center. If the patient goes to the doctor for heart disease, stomach disease, it is difficult to detect the root problem lies in the patient’s psychology.

The doctor will use the conversation, medical history, family history to temporarily determine the risk of disease. To be more accurate, the patient needs to perform a number of diagnostic tests including

  • Take psychological tests like the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) or the GAD7 assessment sheet
  • Physical tests EEG, ECG, X-ray of the heart and lungs, thyroid hormone test, abdominal ultrasound..

Adequate testing should be done to avoid confusion with similar symptoms in patients with hyperthyroidism, amphetamine overuse, or benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Patients need to clearly inform the time when symptoms of anxiety appear to facilitate the doctor’s diagnosis. If scores on psychological tests fall within the range of illness and symptoms persist for more than 6 months, a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder can be made (according to the DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). -IV)

Directions for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder

Depending on the condition of each patient, the doctor will recommend different treatment methods. However, they all share the following principles

  • Counseling and explaining to the patient to understand the physical and mental symptoms
  • Helping patients cope with events and situations that cause anxiety, excessive stress, thereby gradually improving these symptoms
  • Support, mobilize, encourage patients to participate in physical activities
  • Avoid alcohol abuse and sleeping pills.

Use Western medicine

It is important to understand that although generalized anxiety disorder causes physical problems, it is a psychological problem, and medication alone cannot eliminate the disease. The main purpose of medication is to temporarily control symptoms, balance emotions, limit excessive anxiety, and resolve physical symptoms if present.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Taking medication will temporarily control the symptoms of excessive anxiety

Some of the medications commonly prescribed for patients with generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Anxiolytics: Benzodiazepins (such as Diazepam, lorazepam, bromazepam); Non-benzodiazepins group (such as Eftifoxin, sedanxio, zopiclon)…
  • Antidepressants: tricyclic antidepressants; SSRI group (fluoxetin, escitalopram, paroxetin…); SNRIs such as venlafaxine or mirtazapine
  • Antipsychotics: Olanzapine, Risperidone, Quetiapine…
  • Some other drug groups: tranquilizers,  antihistamines, beta blockers; functional foods to help nourish nerve cells (piracetam, ginkgo biloba…). Patients also need to prescribe B vitamins and minerals…

In addition, if the patient has serious heart problems, blood pressure, or stomach problems, appropriate drugs or treatments will be prescribed to prevent other dangerous complications from occurring. presently.

  • Most of the above drugs are accompanied by a lot of side effects, so patients absolutely should not abuse because they can cause opposite side effects. Depending on the condition, most patients are prescribed the drug for
  • about 6 months to ensure complete stabilization, minimizing the risk of recurrence.


For people with psychological problems such as generalized anxiety disorder, psychotherapy is still the main method of treatment. This method aims to eliminate the cause of the disease from within, adjust the patient’s thoughts and emotions back to normal without any drugs.

Therapists will be the one to explain to the client the problem they are having and help them understand that those fears are unreasonable, unrealistic, and not worrisome. Through conversation, psychologists will go deep into the subconscious to find the knots in the patient’s mind and untangle it.

Psychotherapy also directs patients to optimism, positivity, to find balance in the subconscious. Psychologists also guide clients to deal with and deal with their own stress and worries. Over time, feelings of excessive anxiety will improve and decrease.

Other problems such as sleep, panic attacks, and irritability are gradually improved through psychotherapy. It is important for the patient to be really honest, share the problems and follow the process given by the psychologists. This is the only way to ensure the best possible outcome of the treatment.

Treatment and care at home

Patients who are treated early and respond well to psychotherapy and medication will usually have a pretty good prognosis. However, as mentioned, in patients with generalized anxiety disorder, they are often quite weak, so the risk of relapse is still very high. Patients should not be subjective even after being informed of their recovery.

Generalized anxiety disorder

Changing the scientific lifestyle brings many benefits to patients

Changing a healthier lifestyle not only helps support the treatment process, but also minimizes the risk of the disease returning, so patients need to be extremely attentive. Specifically

  • Meditation is considered a very good therapy for people who are experiencing psychological problems such as generalized anxiety disorder. Daily meditation practice helps to stimulate blood circulation, balance emotions, eliminate negative emotions, and also practice calmness and control in stressful situations.
  • Maintain the habit of going to bed early. In the early stages, patients are often prescribed sedatives and sleep-supporting foods, so please continue to maintain the right sleep before to form a circulatory cycle every day.
  • Daily exercise to improve physical health is also very good for mental health. Spending time every day walking, swimming, cycling slowly will bring you many benefits
  • Yoga is also very good for patients with generalized anxiety disorder, who often suffer from muscle tension or other problems with blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Stay away from stimulants such as alcohol, tobacco or drugs
  • Increase vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin C and foods good for nerves through daily food sources, especially green vegetables and fruits.
  • Stay away from stress and arguments. Patients can consider temporarily quitting work, moving house, moving back to family to relax their mind until they are completely healed.
  • Seek help from a doctor, relative or friend to relax mentally, avoid negative things that accumulate for too long.
  • Use your senses to relax and feel. For example, close your eyes to hear more clearly the movement of trees and leaves, stimulate taste and hearing through delicious dishes..

Generalized anxiety disorder can completely improve if you build yourself a healthy lifestyle every day. Each person should spend time taking care of their own mental health and those around them more. to minimize the risk of disease. Hope the above sharing has brought you a lot of useful information.

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