Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common disorder, characterized by long-lasting anxiety which is not focused on any one object or situation. Those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder experience non-specific persistent fear and worry, and become overly concerned with everyday matters.
Generalized anxiety disorder is “characterized by chronic excessive worry accompanied by three or more of the following symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance”. Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder to affect older adults.
Anxiety can be a symptom of a medical or substance abuse problem, and medical professionals must be aware of this. A diagnosis of GAD is made when a person has been excessively worried about an everyday problem for six months or more.
A person may find that they have problems making daily decisions and remembering commitments as a result of lack of concentration / preoccupation with worry. Appearance looks strained, with increased sweating from the hands, feet, and axillae, and they may be tearful, which can suggest depression.
Before a diagnosis of anxiety disorder is made, physicians must rule out drug-induced anxiety and other medical causes.