Generalized Anxiety Disorder: What Is It and What Are the Symptoms?

from your RAFT Counseling Team

Your palms get sweaty before having to take a big test. You feel butterflies in your stomach before a first date. Your heart rate increases before having to give a big presentation at work.


You have probably experienced a little anxiety, uneasiness, or worry before certain situations or life events. Anxiety is a normal human emotion. Everyone experiences it from time to time.

When your anxiety and constant worry start to affect your life and day-to-day activities, it could be a sign of Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD.

With GAD, your life becomes consumed by worry about everyday issues. You may even be trying to prepare yourself for any bad situation, even if everything may be fine.

Let’s learn more about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the symptoms!

What is GAD?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is when someone constantly worries about certain situations, even if there is no reason, and they are unable to control the worrying. Basically, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is what happens when worry gets out of control. People living with GAD will often experience their anxiety for months, and in some cases, years.

For children, worries could include catastrophes, like earthquakes, tornadoes or war, the health of friends and family, or their sports performance.

Teenagers may experience worry stemming from wanting to fit in, being a perfectionist, having confidence issues, a constant desire and need for approval, and needing reassurance about their performance or social situations.

Adults with GAD, are usually worried about day-to-day things like career, family, health, and money. They can also be consumed with being late or completing their normal responsibilities, like household chores.

Sure, everyone worries about these things now and then, but when the worry gets in the way of you living your life, it is usually a sign of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

What Causes GAD?

Similar to other mental health issues, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not caused by one specific factor. There are many different factors, both environmental and genetic, that can have an impact.

These are some of the causes or risk factors of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Brain chemistry
  • Bullying
  • Childhood abuse
  • Excessive use of caffeine or tobacco
  • Experiences
  • Family background, history, or genetics
  • Health conditions
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Observing others with GAD
  • Personality
  • Prolonged exposure to stressful situations
  • Trauma

Symptoms of GAD

Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms may vary depending on the individual and their personal experiences in their day-to-day life.

These are some of the common symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Constant worry
  • Fatique
  • Fear
  • Indecisiveness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Overthinking
  • Restlessness
  • Unrealistic views of problems and certain situations

Physical Signs of GAD

Similar to the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, it can present itself physically in different ways as well.

These are a few of the common physical signs of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Diarrhea
  • Startling easily
  • Fatique
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches or soreness
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Sleeping problems
  • Sweating

Treatment for GAD

Imagine feeling confident and passionate again, without second-guessing each thought, interaction, and decision.

Anxiety is a well-known feeling, but when anxiety is persistent and overwhelming, it may be time to get help. It can have a huge impact on your happiness, your relationships, and your daily life. Anxiety treatment has shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.

Experiencing anxiety is tough. The therapists at our Parker, CO counseling practice have extensive experience working with individuals struggling with anxiety. We would be honored to collaborate with you in taking the next steps toward reclaiming your thoughts, building your confidence, and improving your life. You can access our services in person or virtually using online therapy in Colorado. Reach out today to get started.

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