Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent anxiety and uncontrollable worry that occurs consistently for at least 6 months. This disorder is commonly associated with depression, alcohol and substance abuse, physical health problems, or all these factors.
Criteria for the Diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Excessive anxiety and worry about various events have occurred more days than not for at least 6 months.
- The person finds it difficult to control the worry.
- The anxiety and worry are associated with at least three of the following six symptoms (only one symptom is required in children): restlessness or a feeling of being keyed up or “on edge”, being easily fatigued, having difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.
- The anxiety, worry, or associated physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
- The disturbance is not due to the physiological effects of a substance or medical condition.
- The disturbance is not better accounted for by another mental disorder.
All the features listed must be present in order to make a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder.
- Stein MB, Sareen J. CLINICAL PRACTICE. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. N Engl J Med. 2015 Nov 19;373(21):2059-68. [Medline]
- Combs H, Markman J. Anxiety disorders in primary care. Med Clin North Am. 2014 Sep;98(5):1007-23. [Medline]
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Created Jan 04, 2016.