Taking a Look at General Anxiety Disorder

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Anxiety is a human characteristic that most people would rather do without. It’s that on edge, knot in your throat, breathless feeling of doom that can come when you worry about something excessively. Anxiety may feel like an uncomfortable nuisance, but it is a necessary part of life. In its normal form it can be helpful, as it can act as a signal of impending danger. Without anxiety being there to alert your mind to risk, you might not know you are in trouble until it's too late. Alternatively, there can be such a thing as to much anxiety. When worrying becomes excessive it can lead to heightened feelings of anxiety, and can even cause you to be physically ill. “General Anxiety Disorder or (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder, affecting 5-6% of the population” (anxietycare.org). GAD is characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry lasting for at least 6 months and at least 3 of the following symptoms: feeling restless, keyed up, or on edge, fatigue, impaired concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance. Considering that we live in a very diverse population, GAD can affect people in different ways depending on their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. GAD can affect people of all ages, and although many people experience some of the symptoms at a very early age, it can fully develop at any point during their lives. Unfortunately, as many things are able to be out-grown, the risks of being diagnosed with GAD increase with age. One study found new-onset of anxiety disorders in 11 % of older women and 2% of older men (Samuelson). Children diagnosed with GAD tend to be very hard on themselves and strive for perfection. They may also seek constant approval or reass... ... middle of paper ... ...eased risk of acquiring GAD. Surprisingly it has not been proven why GLB young people have such a high level of anxiety, but it has been argued that because society mostly centers on homophobic attitudes, GLB youth are exposed to serious personal stresses that increase their likelihood of suicidal behavior (Fergusson). General Anxiety Disorder has become more prevalent in recent years. As of now Anti-depressant drugs are currently the most prescribed drug in the US, with a whopping 264 million prescriptions written in 2011. It would seem wise to spend time and resources to study this mental health problem in depth, and to pay close attention to how it effects diverse groups. The world may never be completely free of anxiety, nor should it. But we can help to lower the effects of general anxiety disorder, and through research help people live more comfortable lives.
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