Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

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Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a disorder with no particular reasons for concern, characterized by exaggerated, intense anxiety as well as concern about everyday activities. People with symptoms of this condition often seem to predict disasters and can not stop worrying about problems such as family, money, health, school or work. As discussed in an article published by the Harvard Mental Health Department in June 2011, this paper aims to address various issues surrounding the condition. Summary of the article
According to the article, anxiety-provoking news such as natural disasters and personal stress which may involve worries about health can lead to a generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a healthy response to dangers and uncertainty, but constant nervousness and fear can be signs of the condition. GAD affects approximately 5 to 6 percent of Americans with women being twice as likely as men to develop the disorder (Alwahhabi, 2003).In most cases, the condition first appears from young adulthood through the mid-50s.
Additionally, the article indicates that the main characteristic of this disorder is debilitating agitation as well as worry concerning nothing in particular and sometimes nothing at all. Physical symptoms include:
Muscle tension
Dry mouth
Racing heart
Upset stomach
Trembling and sweating
Sleep problems
Tiring easily
Concentration difficulties
Moreover, the article indicates that just like any other type of anxiety results from extreme activation of the brain mechanism underlying fear as well as the flight response. Some of the medication options for treating the disorder include the use of antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as well as norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (Alwahhabi, 2003). Even though these drugs can take longer to be effective when compared to the traditional anti-anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines, they provide greater symptom relief over time.
Patient suffering from this disorder also benefits from psychotherapy, with Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) being the major approach. The therapy helps patients to realize and correct misperceptions leading to anxiety. Through the therapy, patients can understand that they are magnifying difficulties, misinterpreting events and making pessimistic assumptions on little or no evidence (Alwahhabi, 2003).There are two major models of CBT:
Applied relaxation-which teaches patients relaxation techniques with aims of tapping down the nervous system arousal occurring during stress
Psychodynamic therapy-which maintains that gaining an insight into some ideas like the fact that behavior reflects both conscious and unconscious motivations in the context of a helping relationship, offers relief.
How the article relates to the field of psychology
The article relates to the field of psychology in different ways. To start with psychology can be defined as the scientific study of human mind as well as its various functions. Psychology mainly focuses on the functions that affect human behavior in specific contexts. The article talks about a disorder that affects mostly the brains of human beings making them worry about everything and nothing in particular (Alwahhabi, 2003).
Additionally, the article relates to the field of psychology as the generalized anxiety disorder affects cognition which is a branch of psychology. For instance, the article indicates that people with the disorder ruminates about potential misfortunes and are more likely to experience difficulties making mental efforts.
Moreover, the disorder as discussed in the article leads to excessive worry and anxiety that is hard to control thus causing distress which interferes with daily activities. The symptoms of the disorder like sleep problems and concentration difficulties are also almost similar to those of other psychological disorders like mental illnesses (Alwahhabi, 2003).
Another reason as to why the article relates to the field of psychology is that just like other types of anxieties it results from the excessive activation of the brain mechanism. As indicated earlier psychology involves the scientific study of human minds and so the article qualifies to be related to the psychological field.
The article also explains how two brain circuits become active and send information to various parts of the brain about danger when one is confronted with a dangerous situation. One of the circuits extends to the cerebral cortex which is the outermost section of human brains. The other one is made up of a deeper structure known as the amygdala which is central to emotional processing (Alwahhabi, 2003).
The last reason is that the article indicates that some psychologists are trained to diagnose the disorder and to educate patients on healthier and more efficient ways to cope with the situation. The psychologists use cognitive behavior therapy to help patients learn to identify as well as manage various factors contributing to the anxiety. Following the behavioral components, patients can understand multiple techniques of reducing undesired behaviors related to anxiety disorders (Alwahhabi, 2003).All the above information explains why the article qualifies to be part of the psychological field with the main points being the fact that the article talks more about behavioral problems and brain functions.
Personal comments
In general, the article is good because it has fully discussed the topic of generalized anxiety disorder. It has also defined the disorder as well as the symptoms which includes upset stomach and muscle tension. Additionally, the article has included comprehensive data of the people who are likely to be affected by the disorder. Moreover, the author of the article has explained some medication options which are suitable when treating the disorder. For instance, the author has indicated that antidepressants and Benzodiazepines can be used to control GAD. Lastly, the article has attained its primary purpose of informing the reader about generalized anxiety disorder, its causes, effects as well as what the doctors can prescribe to a patient.
However, the article just like any other research work has left some gaps which need to be filled through further research. For example, it has not provided enough information concerning the appropriate combination of psychotherapy and medication. Additionally, it has failed to offer comprehensive information on how to tailor treatment to specific individuals suffering from the disorder. The author should have discussed some new treatments which would provide hope to the people who continue to struggle with the disorder after trying multiple medications as well as psychotherapy.
I have learned from the article that GAD can affect any person despite his or her age, race or gender. The author has also provided useful information concerning the disorder such as the primary symptoms, causes as well as treatment options.
In conclusion, it is evident from the above discussion that patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder worry about everything and nothing in particular. It is also evident that some of the symptoms include irritability, sleep problems as well as muscle tension. Additionally, the article has indicated that the disorder can be treated with different medication options which include the use of drugs such as antidepressants as well as psychotherapy.

Alwahhabi, F. (2003). Anxiety Symptoms and Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the Elderly: A Review. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 11(4), 180-193. doi:10.1080/10673220303944

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