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Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can affect both adults and children. People with GAD often have psychological and physical symptoms. They may visit the doctor many times before they are diagnosed. They often ask the doctor to help them with the complaints related to GAD, such as headaches or trouble falling asleep. Reluctance to discuss emotional problems and worries may lead to a delay in the diagnosis.

Psychological symptoms of GAD include:

  • Excessive ongoing worrying, even when there are no signs of trouble
  • Inability to relax
  • Difficulty concentrating, mind going “blank”
  • Feeling tense, edgy, or jumpy
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping

Physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Trembling
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating
  • Light-headedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Frequent urination in adults and bed-wetting in children
  • Aches and pains
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort, including diarrhea , heartburn, and flatulence
  • Dry mouth
  • Cold, clammy hands
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Racing heart

Revision Information

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety Disorders Association of America website. Available at: . Accessed October 29, 2008.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: . Update June 2008. Accessed October 29, 2008.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Parkridge Health System does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.