Generalised Anxiety Disorder

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Commonest psychiatric symptom in clinical practice and commonest psychiatric disorder in the general population all over the world.

Anxiety and Fear

Anxiety is normal phenomenon, which is characterised by a state of apprehension or unease arising out of anticipation of danger while fear is an apprehension in response to an external danger, while in anxiety the danger is unknown or internal.

Normal anxiety becomes pathological when it causes significant distress interfering in normal day to day activities.

Physical symptoms of anxiety:

  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Palpitation
  • Sweating
  • Flushes
  • Hyperventilation
  • Dry mouth

Psychological symptoms:

  • Poor concentration
  • Negative thoughts
  • Fearfulness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling of impending doom

Generalised anxiety disorder is usually characterised by insidious onset in third decade of life and it usually runs a chronic course with bouts of repeated panic attacks.

The symptoms must last for a period of 6 months for a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder to be made.

One year prevalence of this disorder in general population is 2.5 % to 8% .

The treatment of choice has always been benzodiazepines, however tolerance and dependence have limited the use of these drugs and newer alternatives are being used.

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