Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Anxiety (worries, concerns, distress) is normally a necessary part of human nature, in that it acts as a signal indicating that internal demands are waiting to be satisfied. There are many internal demands like hunger, thirst, sex etc. The body expects these to be satisfied there and then. In reality however the external world generally does not allow this to happen. In such a situation we experience anxiety. We have a series of defence mechanisms that come into play, starting from denying the presence of the stimulus all the way to ridiculing it. If the defence mechanisms prove insufficient then psychiatric disorders can set in. One of these is generalized anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of GAD: The person feels under constant threat, and believes that bad things are about to happen to him. This state is accompanied by fatigue, muscle tension, insomnia, and difficulties concentrating.

The frequency of occurrence of GAD in the general population is around 8%. It is slightly more common in women. Its onset coincides with adolescence.

There are signs that indicate that the biological basis of GAD lies with the GABA/benzodiazepine receptors and the role of the noradrenergic and serotonergic systems.

Electrophysiologically there is an increase in the fast beta frequency.

The progress of the disorder is unfortunately towards the chronic.

Anxiolytics, NA-ergics and SSRI group of drugs and cognitive behavioural psychotherapy are fairly effective in its treatment.

Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan
Psychiatry Expert