With this anxiety disorder, a person has difficulty controlling excessive worry over a number of events or activities and this has to interfere with day to day life.
Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can include:
- Persistent worrying about a number of areas that are out of proportion to the impact of the events or reality (someone worries about failing grades despite having straight A’s, someone worries about losing their job despite being employed at the company for twenty years).
- Catostrophizing and overthinking to worst-case scenarios or outcomes
- Perceiving situations and events as threatening, even when they aren’t
- Difficulty handling the unknown and uncertainty
- Fear of making the wrong decision so often no decision is made at all
- Difficulty handling uncertainty
- Inability to calm self or redirect self to mitigate anxiety
- Inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on edge
- Difficulty concentrating or multitasking
Physical symptoms may include:
- Picking at skin, hair and/or nails
- Trouble sleeping, especially falling asleep or waking up too early
- Muscle tension or muscle aches (clenching jaw)
- Trembling, feeling twitchy or blinking eyes
- Quick to become startled (easily “spooked”)
- Inability to stay seated or always moving body (tapping fingers, shaking leg)
- Sweating or flush face and/or arms
- Nausea, diarrhea, frequent urination or irritable bowel syndrome
At times the anxiety may not be all consuming but the baseline worry remains for no apparent reason. For example, someone who also believes something bad is about to happen (when is the shoe going to drop? or that a tragedy will happen to a loved one). Worries tend to shift from one concern to another and can change throughout the life cycle.