Generalized Anxiety Disorder remains the most prevalent psychiatric disorder. Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include a sense of unease, dread or foreboding along with excessive, unrealistic worry. Other common complaints of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder include the feeling of muscle tension, impaired concentration, insomnia and restlessness.
Complicating the diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder are irritability, sweating, trembling, headache and gastrointestinal issues. Many individuals seek care for these non-specific somatic symptoms rather than their unrecognized anxiety issues. As a result, they may undergo medical evaluation and receive therapy for their presenting complaints rather than the true underlying causative psychiatric condition.
Further compounding the problem with diagnosis, most of those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder also suffer with a number of other psychiatric maladies ranging from panic attacks to depression and social anxiety disorder. The presence of somatic issues and other psychiatric disorders complicates timely diagnosis and appropriate therapy.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder attacks women twice as frequently as men. Symptoms tend to begin in men in their early 20s while the onset tends to be delayed in women until their late 20s. Another smaller peak occurs in older individuals. African Americans appear more likely to suffer from depression when compared to Caucasians.
Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy or more customarily an SSRI or SNRI. While the benzodiazepines effectively mute symptoms, these drugs including Xanax, Ativan and Klonipin currently are out of favor with the government and professional organizations. In spite of this patients and doctors alike often favor drugs commonly referred to as “benzos.”