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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Mental and Behavioural Disorders Anxiety

Anxiety

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Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events. People with anxiety will be in a constant state of worry and fear. Eventually it affects the individual to such an extent that daily activities (work, social activities, etc) become troublesome.

Prevalence

On an average, about 4 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety related disorders every year. Usually begins in childhood or adolescence but can start in adulthood.

 Causes

There is no definite cause of anxiety. Can be due to a mental or physical condition, effects of drugs or a combination of these factors. Some of the external factors like stress, drug abuse (cocaine), etc are also attributed to be important factors. Genetic factors (running in families) are also observed to be a significant cause.

Symptoms

  • Excessive worrying Tension
  • Unrealistic view of problems
  • Restlessness
  •  Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • In addition, there can be other disorders like depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, phobias, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.

Diagnosis

Generalized disorder is diagnosed if symptoms are present for more than 6 months, involving daily activities. There are no other laboratory tests to diagnose anxiety.

Treatment

  • Medication: Tranquillizers and benzodiazepines are the most commonly used drugs.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, biofeedback, etc.

Complications of treatment

  • Dependency on anti-anxiety medications is a potential complication of treatment.
  • Other complications like sleepiness and sexual problems are also common.

Prevention

Some of these are to stop/reduce consumption of products that contain caffeine (coffee, tea, cola and chocolate), do regular exercise, and take a balanced diet and to seek counseling and support after a traumatic or disturbing experience.