General Anxiety Disorder
General anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive exaggerated worry and anxiety about daily life events with no obvious reasons to be worried. During the course of a year, it is estimated that 4 million adult Americans suffer from general anxiety disorder. Commonly referred to as GAD, the disorder often starts in adolescence or childhood, but can also start in adulthood.
General anxiety disorder is commonly experienced in women than in men. Diagnosing general anxiety disorder is challenging. Based on DSM-5, the criteria for diagnosing generalized anxiety disorder the presence of excessive worry and anxiety about different life issues. The worry experienced is difficult to control, the worry is associated or accompanied by difficulty sleeping, increased muscle aches or soreness, irritability, impaired concentration and being easily fatigued.
Historical Context of General Anxiety Disorder
General anxiety disorder has been described by many different authors since the start of modern psychiatry in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In the early days, psychiatrists and researchers concluded that GAD was a form of chronic anxiety that would culminate in what is described as paroxysmal attacks. Therefore, panic attacks and general anxiety disorder were classified under the same illness. The diagnostic criteria have dramatically changed and transformed since DSM-II so that now general anxiety disorder is grouped independently of other mental disorders.
From the ninetieth century into the start of the 20th century, the terms that have been used to diagnose GAD include anxiety neurosis and pantophobia. Such diagnosis was based on panic attacks and apprehensive mental state. During the same time, the disorder was considered one of the several symptoms of neurasthenia, a vaguely defined mental illness.