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“The most difficult part for me was knowing that the things I worried about probably wouldn’t happen but I still just couldn’t turn my mind off. I worried about money, about my kids, about losing my job.  I would wake up in the morning so keyed up that I could barely catch my breath. By the end of each day I was a complete wreck. No matter how many times people would try to reassure me, I just couldn’t stop worrying.”

Everybody worries from time to time. It is considered to be a normal part of life. But when worry starts to interfere with your life, then you might have a condition called Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition whereby you experience chronic and debilitating anxiety and/or worry.  The amount of time that you spend worrying is usually out of proportion to the likelihood that whatever you are worrying about would actually happen. Your worry, however, affects your ability to function in important areas of your life like work, home, school and your personal relationships. In addition, you also may experience a lot of physical symptoms that are related to the worry. Unlike some of the other anxiety disorders, however, you don’t necessarily experience panic attacks, nor have phobias or obsessions (although you still might experience them). In short, you worry and you can’t seem to stop.

The following are some of the physical symptoms that you are likely to experience if you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Feeling restless or keyed up
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Feeling irritable
  • Experiencing muscle tension
  • Having sleep difficulties
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort including nausea and diarrhea
  • Sweating

In order to be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder you must spend most of your days during a six month period or more, worrying and focusing on at least two main types of life circumstances- these could be finances or health, your children, other relationships or work performance etc.  The worry must also cause you significant distress in your life.

If you think you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, speak to your family physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist.


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