Generalized anxiety disorder | Mental health | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy
18 Comments


– So, think about the last
time you took a big exam. You probably got pretty
nervous about it, right? Anxious, maybe right before the exam. Well, this is completely
normal and might even be useful in some
situations because it could make you more alert and more careful. After the test though, you might kick back and breathe a sigh of relief,
and stress goes away, right? For some people, about
3% of the population, that stress doesn’t go
away, and at this point, the stress is considered to be anxiety. This anxiety also might
get worse over time and cause things like
chest pain or nightmares. It might even cause you to
not want to leave the home. At this point, where it
starts to interfere with your daily life like work,
school and relationships, we might even call it an anxiety disorder. Now, one particular
type of anxiety disorder is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. This type is characterized
by anxiety about everyday things, things
like money, health, family, work and relationships. Sometimes, even the thought
of getting through the day produces anxiety, and it’s this anxiety as opposed to normal
anxiety that everybody feels has three main pieces. The first is that it’s
persistent, meaning that it doesn’t seem to go away. The second is that it’s excessive, so it’s usually way more
than someone else might have given that situation. And third, it’s typically
pretty unreasonable. As in, there really isn’t
any reason to worry about whatever you’re worrying about. Now, people with GAD might even be aware that these worries are
excessive and unreasonable, but they don’t know how
to stop feeling like this or feel like it’s completely
beyond their control. Some people with mild GAD might be able to function socially and hold down a job. But others with severe
GAD might have trouble with the simplest of daily activities. So, what causes one person to have GAD and one person to not have GAD? Ultimately, as is the case with
many psychological disorders we don’t know. Genes, though, are thought to play a role since sometimes, it runs in families. Also, the environment
you’re in, especially if high levels of stress are involved. Also, several parts of
the brain have been linked to fear and anxiety,
and continued research into these areas may provide
some clues in the future about GAD. All right, so how might we
know that someone has GAD? What are the signs and symptoms? Well, the main symptom is
frequent worry and tension or stress, for little to no reason. Other symptoms might
include things like edginess or restlessness, or an
impaired concentration or feeling like your mind just goes blank. Then also, irritability. These psychological symptoms can even be severe enough to
lead to physical symptoms like difficulty sleeping, and this is one of the biggest physical complaints of people with generalized
anxiety disorder. Our bodies need to recharge
when we sleep, right? With that said, insomnia
can take this serious toll on your physical health, which means your body isn’t functioning
at its optimal levels, is it? Besides insomnia though,
another physical symptom might be digestive problems. Chronic stress may lead
to eating more or less than normal, and many
people even experience diarrhea or constipation as a result. Finally, muscle aches and soreness is also a pretty common symptom of GAD. This happens from
increased muscle tension, because people with anxiety
carry around this tension in their bodies, which can lead to tense shoulders, back, jaws and muscles. This can even manifest as clenched jaws or teeth grinding. Overall, these physical
and mental symptoms usually come about gradually. Typically starting in the teen years or young adulthood, but over time, they have this serious
impact on your well-being. Additionally, there might
be periods where symptoms seem to get worse, or they might get worse during periods of high stress. Unfortunately, there aren’t
any tests that will tell you whether you have GAD or
not, and a proper diagnosis will be based on a medical
professional’s questions about your symptoms. So, from the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, the
Fifth Edition, or DSM5, the following criteria given
for a diagnosis of GAD. Excessive anxiety and worry is present and occurs more often than
not for at least six months, and is clearly excessive. The other one is anxiety
and worry is associated with at least three of the
symptoms that we went through and in children, only
one symptom is needed for a diagnosis. Once it’s been diagnosed, we’re
going to look to treatments. GAD will often be treated
with psychotherapy, medication or both. Specifically, within
psychotherapy, we’ll often try something called Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which is really useful for treating GAD, since
it tries to teach you different ways of thinking, behaving and reacting to situations
that reduce your feelings of anxiety and worry. The other form of treatment is medication, and there are two types
they are usually focused on. The first, are anti-anxiety medications. These tend to slow down our central nervous system, so our brain. So they have this, kind of,
relaxing and calming effect. Typically, anti-anxiety
medications are benzodiazepines. Apart from those, though, antidepressants can also be prescribed. These are approved for depression,
but have also been found to be effective for
treatment of anxiety as well. The most commonly
prescribed antidepressants are Selective Seratonin
Reuptake Inhibitors, or more commonly just called SSRIs. These guys work to regulate
seratonin levels in our brain and elevate your mood. Knowing that these
treatments exist, some people respond better to cognitive
behaviour therapy alone, and some respond better
to medications alone. While still, others respond best when both are used together. It totally depends on the patient, and so it needs to be tailored
on a case-by-case basis.

18 thoughts on “Generalized anxiety disorder | Mental health | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

  1. Nicely presented info. I would add two symptoms, though: cold sweats and pounding heartbeat. I have GAD, diagnosed, and I would experience those symptoms to a ridiculous level before, say, speaking up in class as a teen, or performing a solo during a band concert. These were not full blown panic attacks, but even just encountering a familiar person at the grocery store would trigger such a reaction. Awful way to go through life. The rest of the info was totally on target.

  2. Cheers for that, 2 doctors, 2 head doctors and a sociologist couldn't work that out. I have been depressed for years but the anxiety has really came on, they put me on diazepam for a few months and things were getting better. But the doctor nagged me so much about the diazepam I gave them up., since then I have had constant shits. I've had back muscle spasm problem for a few years now and though you never mentioned it, I saw it in another article, I have a metal taste in my mouth. I realise now I have this problem and will look in to cognitive therapy treatment. Thanks for your eye opening video.

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  10. so how is cannabis not the #1 prescribed medication for this?! The symptoms of the pharmaceuticals are long listed and unneeded in the process, only makes corporations profits, while making others sicker. just allow people to consume a plant, given by GOD, to help us poor humans, dealing with this stuff. The corporate is so far lobbying in d.c. that we can't just grow a simple plant to help us, seems like a United States type of thing to do. stay patriotic, defend the corporate world, er constitution….

  11. Ok computer Psy. I know, it's from witnessing insest, being beat up to 18 years old, brainwashing from us army, 35 years of drinking, 40+ years smoking weed, 2 divorces, 1st wife raped by landlord in the military, being harrassed on every job, 12 years of taking Psy. Pills that fucked me up worse, then last year my fiance died at 47, you Drs are full of shit, some advice to all with this, get off those bullshit pills they hand out, get away from negative forces, family,ect…I have been off those meds for 5 years and I have no problems at all, except maybe a few bad thoughts about people who did me harm from 5 till 45 yrs old, so that's where my problems stem from, oh yeah weed has also helped, oh and because I drank since the late 70's I will need a kidney removed in jan.2018! Thank you for your time, I just want a few years of regained sanity, before I die

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