Definition Generalised anxiety disorder is a condition characterized by “free floating” anxiety or apprehension not linked to a specific cause or situation. Anxiety is abnormal if it:
- Is out of proportion to the stressful situation, or
- Persists when a stressful situation has gone, or the stress is minor, or
- Appears for no apparent reason when there is no stressful situation.
If you have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) you have a lot of anxiety (feeling fearful, worried and tense) on most days. The condition persists long-term. Your anxiety tends to be about various stresses at home or work, often about quite minor things. Sometimes you do not know why you are anxious. In addition, you will usually have three or more of the following symptoms:
- Feeling restless, on edge, or ‘keyed up’ a lot of the time.
- Tiring easily.
- Difficulty concentrating and your mind goes blank quite often.
- Being irritable a lot of the time.
- Muscle tension.
- Poor sleep (insomnia). Usually it is difficulty in getting off to sleep, or difficulty in staying asleep.
While generalised anxiety disorder is not completely debilitating, it can compromise a person’s effectiveness and quality of life.