Sunday, May 12, 2013


What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder? 

It is a type of an anxiety disorder in which the person feels anxiety for most of the time of day. The anxiety is difficult to control and associated with symptoms like difficulty sleeping, muscle tension, restlessness and irritability. The anxiety is of such grade that it significantly disturbs important areas of life. These symptoms should be present for at-least 6 months to be classified as GAD.
GAD has a typical onset in 20’s and its prevalence is close to 5% in general population. Women are affected more with a ratio of 2:1.

Cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD

       1.    Abnormalities in serotonin levels
       2.    Abnormalities in benzodiazepines
       3.    Minute abnormalities in structure of brain
The distinction between GAD and normal Anxiety is excessive to the nature that it is difficult to control.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD 

Apart from muscle tension and sleep disturbance these symptoms may or may not be present are:
       1.    Tremors
       2.    Palpitations
       3.    Dry mouth
       4.    Sweating
       5.    Restlessness
       6.    Chills
       7.    Nausea
       8.    Rapid breathing
       9.    Chocking sensation
      10. Dizziness
      11. Abdominal discomfort
      12. Chest discomfort
Most of patients of this disorder visit cardiologists, gastroenterologists, internists, general practitioners and pulmonologists instead of psychiatrists. Only 33% manage to consult a psychiatrist.

Treatment of Generalized Anxiety DisorderGAD

 Medicinal treatment includes
      a)    SSRI’SThe most effective SSRI is paroxetine
      b)   Buspirone
      c)    SNRI’S -Venlafaxine
      d)   TCA’S such as imipramine are effective
      e)    Propranolol
      f)     Benzodiazepine- should be avoided as they can cause dependence in long term use. They should only be prescribed for immediate symptomatic relief.
Medicinal treatment of GAD is usually for 12 months but if relapse has occurred it can be life-long for complete relief.
Non medicinal treatment includes
      a)    Cognitive approach
      b)   Behavioral approach
  Wishing you a healthy life
Dr Hitesh Sharma
MBBS, MD (Psychiatry)
For asking a query or phone/video consultation with me visit