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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder among the older adult population, it is twice as common in women as it is men. GAD has been found to be associated with major depression, social phobia, and panic disorder.

Symptoms: excessive and persistent worry, fatigue, difficulty relaxing, poor sleep associated with a great degree of functional impairment. 

Screening calculator GAD-7: responses are scored and 10-14 indicates moderate anxiety, 15-21 severe anxiety.

1. Feeling nervous, anxious, on edge

2. Not being able to control worrying

3. Worrying too much about different things

4. Trouble relaxing

5. Restless/hard to sit still

6. Becoming easily annoyed/irritable 

7. Feeling afraid that something awful might happen

Diagnostic criteria: 

  1. Excessive anxiety and worry occurring for most days of the month for more than 6 months in more than 2 events or activities
  2. Difficult to control worry
  3. Worry is associated with 3 or more of the following: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbance
  4. Anxiety significantly impairs social or occupational functioning
  5. Psychological symptoms are not due to a substance or medication
  6. The disturbance is not better explained by another disorder

Treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy and SSRI. Your physician may also prescribe a different antidepressant, antipsychotic, or benzodiazepine depending on the symptoms. For therapy to be effective, it is recommended to be continued for 12 months. 

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