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Anxiety disorders – Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed when:

  • the person has been worrying much of the time over a long period (six months or more);
  • the worry feels hard to control; and
  • the worry causes the person to be either restless, tense, irritable, tired or to have sleep problems.

The worry interferes with the person’s well-being and day-to-day life. The worry is usually accompanied by some degree of dread or apprehension about upcoming events, present situations and sometimes past events. It often includes a sense of time pressure.

A charcater is looking anxiously at a circled date on a calendar

Generalised anxiety is different from having obsessions (where the same set of thoughts are repeatedly going through someone’s mind). It does not usually have a particular focus, such as a fear of social situations or spiders and may be about lots of different things. For example, it may relate to personal safety or the safety of family members, to work or school performance, to conflict at work or in relationships, or to forthcoming events or financial concerns.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is treatable using psychological therapies with and without medication.

Key References