Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety condition that is characterized by uncontrollable and too much worry, with a deep sense of fear, dread, and apprehension about life occurrences and situations that extends for up to half a year or sometimes longer. There are a couple of anxiety disorders that plague patients, for example, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, different kinds of phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and generalized anxiety disorder inclusively.

Additional symptoms that could be observed include tension of the skeletal muscles, constant fatigue, dyspnea, tachycardia, excessive sweating, dizziness, sleeping disorders, hot flashes, numbness in the limbs, restlessness, and irritability among others. I can go further in naming signs that are exhibited in patients struggling with the disorder, but the most challenging part of the condition is the inability to control or manage the anxiety.

These people are in a state of always looking out for dangers, and they worry all the time, some people are relatively afraid of different things in different situations. It is completely human to be scared because it helps in protecting one from dangerous situations which in turns influences carefully planned actions. It goes extremely farther than that in GAD when that fear and worry stays without being overcome or relieved, and it starts affecting the physical and metabolic processes of the body, it calls for attention and management. Treatment plans have been either pharmacotherapy or merely the use of therapy, and in some instances, both of them are combined to get the best result in a short time.

Such impact on the proper functioning of the body system is the difficulty in breathing experienced by some patients or the constant heart racing they encounter. On some occasions the apprehension may be baseless, with nothing really to be worried about, in some other instances, it could be about actual situations. The vulnerability and anxiety that is felt in these people at such a heightened level are paralyzing. At times, complaints of chest pain are received by Doctors. Some people tend to have constant nightmares, and as a result, they are afraid to return to sleep while staying awake does not help them either, they may even be terrified of leaving the house for comfort or relieve.

When the condition gets overboard, it begins to hinder their mental stability. They get disturbed about the welfare of everyone around them and their well-being to the point it causes problems in their relationships and in some instances, it can even interfere with jobs. Just imagine someone worrying about debts, bills, health issues, parents, children, spouse, job security and the person carries this burden continuously in such an exaggerated and aggravated nature for an extended period without relief. This can be very devastating to the mind and lifestyle of the individuals going through the situation.

One should not think the fact that the condition is called “Generalized,” means that this chronic and multifaceted disorder is nonspecific, especially when it comes to identifying it specifically for proper diagnosis. The most significant hallmark that makes it recognizable is the excessive worry. Some authorities suggested the use of the term, “Generalized Worry Disorder,” as they considered it more appropriate for clinical usage. However, it was not adopted by the American Psychiatric Association (AMA) in the publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders (DSM-5).

Few co-occurring diseases are often connected with GAD, although the more acceptable term in the medical community is not co-occurring but comorbidities. The disorders that commonly related to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are alcohol abuse and substance abuse, depression, sometimes even a combination of all of them. Imagine an anxious and worried person that takes to drinking to numb the worries but then gets caught up in addiction to the drinks. It does not end there, the drinks have been taken in too much quantity over a long period of time that they are no longer potent to numb the mind, the person then tries to stop the alcohol consumption, but then reality sets in and the person feel even worse becoming depressed. This time instead of just taking only alcohol, they include substances like illegal drugs just to achieve that state of euphoria where their problems do not exist. This goes on and on, becoming a vicious cycle which leads to further dependence on the alcohol and substance, but nothing has changed about the numerous problems they were worried about, and even if it had changed they were too deep in other critical issues that now require professional assistance to solve. This is to show that comorbidities of this nature are readily manifested in individuals with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) unless it is discovered early and a proper professional solution sought.

The core factor that establishes the diagnosis of adjustment disorders is the identification of major stressful events such as bereavement of a loved one, divorce, sickness, imprisonment, loss of job, marriage, retirement and so on. Once identified, the next step is to figure out how they have interfered with daily functional abilities. There are certain criteria for diagnoses as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders (DSM-5).

They are as follows:

  1. If within three months of a patient experiencing a particular stressor and they develop emotional or behavioral symptoms.
  2. If a patient Experiences more stress than usual in response to a stressor and having stress that interferes significantly with your relationships, at work or school.
  3. When the symptoms are not as a result of a different mental health disorder, or they are not part of normal healthy grieving.

The DSM-5 has six different adjustment disorders. They are all related but all exhibit unique signs and symptoms. Adjustment disorders with mixed anxiety and depressed mood have a combination of depression and anxiety symptoms which include sadness, crying, hopelessness, nervousness, excessively worrisome and that overwhelming feeling.

Treatment of both conditions is quite easy and brief. Psychotherapy and medication could be prescribed depending on the choice of the physician. So one should consult a Healthcare professional to have a definitive diagnosis and get treated.

References (2018). DSM-5. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018].

Stein, M. B., & Sareen, J. (2015). Generalized anxiety disorder. New England Journal of Medicine373(21), 2059-2068. (2018). 2018 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code F41.1: Generalized anxiety disorder. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018].

Despland, J. N., Monod, L., & Ferrero, F. (1995). Clinical relevance of adjustment disorder in DSM-III-R and DSM-IV. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 36(6), 454-460. (2017). Adjustment disorders – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Feb. 2018].