Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Anxiety is a normal part of life, and can be beneficial in some situations. It can help us be alert and prepared for difficult or unexpected situations. However, when anxiety becomes excessive and starts to interfere with daily activities, it may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD experience persistent and excessive worry and fear, even when there is no obvious reason for it.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with GAD often experience a range of physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. These can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include:

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms are the body’s response to anxiety. These can include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach upset

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms are the mental and emotional responses to anxiety. These can include:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Negative thoughts
  • Fear of failure
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Depression

Behavioral Symptoms

Behavioral symptoms are the outward expressions of anxiety. These can include:

  • Avoidance of certain situations
  • Excessive checking or reassurance-seeking
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Procrastination
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Trouble concentrating

Diagnosing Generalized Anxiety Disorder

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to seek professional help. A qualified mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist can diagnose GAD after conducting a comprehensive assessment. This typically involves a physical examination, psychological tests, and a review of medical history.

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The most effective treatment for GAD is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy can help people with GAD learn to manage their anxiety and develop healthy coping strategies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that has been shown to be particularly effective in treating GAD. Medication can also be helpful in reducing the symptoms of GAD. Commonly prescribed medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers.

Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Living with GAD can be challenging, but there are things you can do to manage your symptoms and lead a fulfilling life. It is important to stay informed about the disorder and seek professional help when needed. It is also important to practice healthy self-care, including getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in activities that you enjoy. Finally, it is important to connect with supportive friends and family members who can provide emotional support.

Living with GAD can be difficult, but with the right resources and support, it is possible to manage the symptoms and lead a fulfilling life. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of GAD, it is important to seek professional help. A qualified mental health professional can help you develop healthy coping strategies and provide the support you need.


What are the most common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder?

The most common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include persistent worrying, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, physical tension, and irritability.

What are the long-term effects of generalized anxiety disorder?

The long-term effects of generalized anxiety disorder can include physical health problems, such as headaches, digestive problems, and fatigue, as well as psychological issues, such as depression, low self-esteem, and difficulty forming relationships.

How is generalized anxiety disorder treated?

Generalized anxiety disorder is usually treated with a combination of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, and medication, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. It is important to talk to a mental health professional to determine the best treatment plan for you.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub.

Barlow, D. H., Durand, V. M., & Hofmann, S. G. (2019). Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Mancini, C., & Stein, M. B. (2009). Generalized anxiety disorder. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 32(3), 447–460.