Overanxious disorder was the old name for what is now called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Some older doctors or therapists may still call GAD overanxious disorder out of habit. The name was changed in 1994 on the publication of the fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-IV.)
No matter what you call it, GAD has the same symptoms. These symptoms tend to get worse over time, so patients need to go see their doctors as soon as possible. The sooner GAD is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and symptoms managed. People of all ages, including children, can suffer from GAD. The Perleman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania notes that over 6.8 million Americans have GAD.
Worry, Worry and More Worry
The main symptom of overanxious disorder is constant worry for seemingly no reason at all. This worry becomes so bad that a person’s quality of life is greatly diminished. For example, worry about natural disasters like earthquakes may lead to a fear of going outside, lest an earthquake suddenly strike.
This irrational worry can attack a person even if they are not sure just what they are worried about. Patients that suffer from this worry most days for 6 months are diagnosed with GAD. Patients should get a check-up to rule out chronic physical conditions like a malfunction thyroid which can sometimes cause recurring anxiety.
Problematic Physical Symptoms
Constant worry about something unseen can cause noticeable physical symptoms. When people worry, they tend to breathe shallowly. Their blood pressures rise and they may break out into a sweat. These symptoms cause pain and reinforce the irrational worries, which is why GAD tends to get worse over time. Other physical symptoms include:
- · Chronic headaches
- · Chronic stomachaches
- · Chest pains
- · Uncontrollable trembling
- · Lightheadedness which can lead to fainting
- · Cold, clammy skin
These physical symptoms may become so severe that a person is convinced that they are having a heart attack or may be dying.
Other Usual Symptoms
There seems to be as many symptoms of GAD as there are people who suffer from GAD. Not everyone will have these symptoms. Some people may only have one while others may have a few. Some may suffer more symptoms as their condition progresses. Other common GAD symptoms include:
- · Chronic nausea which may or may not lead to vomiting
- · Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- · Insomnia
- · Inability to concentrate, learn new things, or remember important details
- · Children may insist on doing a task several times in order to get it “right.”