Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What is generalized anxiety disorder?"


I'm a middle-aged woman with no history of mental illness, and I finally spoke with my doctor about some issues I've been having lately. He said it sounds like I have a generalize anxiety disorder. What does that mean?


The diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder should involve the care of specialists, including internists, psychiatrists, and others Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive worry and anxiety that are difficult to control and subsequently result in significant distress and impairment. This diagnosis may often co-exist with other conditions such as depression, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. There may also be associated symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty with memory, muscle tension, and poor sleeping.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Psychiatrists near you

Much is still unknown about what causes this condition. It is believed to be the result in inappropriate responses to stressful situations related to certain chemicals involved in nerve signaling. There may also be a genetic component to this as well. A simple self-assessment screening tool is a seven-item anxiety questionnaire which is called the "GAD-7." Additionally, lab testing may be warranted for further evaluation. Certain forms of behavioral therapy and medications have shown to be beneficial for generalized anxiety disorder but it is also important to evaluate for potentially other co-existing psychiatric conditions. It is not possible to make a diagnosis or develop a treatment plan without seeing the patient. The strong recommendation is to seek a referral to a psychiatrist and be evaluated in person.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.