Person in bed having anxious thoughts

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Also known as GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a specific type of anxiety disorder. Most people worry at times about their health, job, money, or family, but people with GAD experience anxiety about these things and more, in a way that is persistent, excessive, and intrusive.

Often, people with GAD struggle to relax and have trouble concentrating on tasks. They may experience physical symptoms including restlessness, sweating, difficulty swallowing, and using the restroom a lot.

According to mental health experts, nearly 3% of all U.S. adults have experienced GAD in the last year and it is estimated that up to 9% experience GAD at some point in their lives. But with proper treatment—including medication and psychotherapy—they can learn to manage their symptoms and live a more productive life.

Key Terms

african-american woman experiences shortness of breath - stock photo
The 9 Best Anxiety Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian
Man meeting with a therapist.
An Overview of Mental Health Statistics  
Avoidant personality disorder can lead to isolation.
What Is Avoidant Personality Disorder?
Distressed young woman looking at laptop in bed in the dark
Here's How to Deal With Doomscrolling
Girl behind plastic wall.
An Overview of Dissociation Anxiety
Anxious woman talking with doctor
Why Fear and Anxiety Are Different Despite Similar Responses
Anxiety
What Are the Differences Between GAD and Adjustment Disorders?
Ethereal looking woman laying in a field
How to Stop Magical Thinking in Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Woman speaking to a crowd
Are You Experiencing Normal Anxiety or Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Man contemplating after a days work
Do You Know the Difference Between Stress and an Anxiety Disorder?
Woman looking anxious France
How to Tell the Difference of Having a Disorder or Normal Anxiety
Students taking exam, teacher in background
How Can Cognitive Distortions in GAD Change?
A woman scratching at anxiety hives on her shoulder.
Could Anxiety Be Giving You a Rash?
Sad, sick woman laying on the couch talking on the phone
How to Stop Worrying About Your Health When You Have GAD
Woman rubbing her neck
What Does It Feel Like to Have Anxiety?
Woman with head in her hand.
How to Deal With Crippling Anxiety
Young girl is sad because others were mean at school
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders in Children
Is your anxiety level unhealthy?
Quiz: Do You Worry Too Much
Young boy with generalized anxiety disorder
Is Your Anxiety Disguising Other Feelings?
Mid-adult man in thought, portrait
The Theory of Evolution and Anxiety
Anxious older woman
How Anxiety Disorders Can Still Develop in Older Adults
man surrounded by pill bottles
Can Seroquel Help To Treat Anxiety Disorders?
woman and doctor
Ativan (lorazepam): What to Know About the Side Effects
Woman taking medication.
Can Benadryl Be Used for Anxiety?
DNA testing can help predict the best anxiety medication for you.
How Genetic Testing Can Help You Find Better Medication for GAD
Emotional tug of war
What to Expect With Emotion Regulation Therapy for GAD
Anxiety medication may be the best treatment for teenagers.
Should Your Teen's Anxiety Be Treated With Medication?
Pills in the shape of a brain
What You Need to Know to Take Psychotropic Medications Safely
therapy session
What Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
Sad looking boy looking out a window
Understanding Dysthymia in Children
woman walking along fence, water, trees
How to Control Anxiety With Medications and Lifestyle Strategies
Stressed woman rubbing her forehead at laptop
How Can Paxil Help Treat Your Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Overcome GAD by learning to tolerate uncertainty.
How to Overcome Fear of Uncertainty in Your Life
Young man smoking weed outside
Can Marijuana Really Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety?
Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft anti-depressant tablets
Medications for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
how to help someone with anxiety
How to Help a Friend or Loved One With Anxiety
Woman meditating at home
9 Things to Do If You Feel Anxious
woman lying under a big blanket
The 8 Best Weighted Blankets of 2021
man and woman having serious talk
How Generalized Anxiety Disorder Can Affect Your Relationships
Teachers and coaches with GAD can be helpful to students.
10 Best Career Paths for People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Woman reading in the bath
The 10 Best Books For Anxiety of 2021, According to an Expert
Meditation can be helpful to relive anxiety.
The Benefits of Meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
coping with GAD during the holidays
How to Survive the Holidays When You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Adults talking in a group
Survey Findings of What Young Adults Think About Their Mental Health
Male runners at start of race, close-up
4 Ways to Play Hard During Life's Stressful Moments
Young woman leaning against brick wall writing in notebook
5 Ways Anxiety Can Actually Bring Positivity to Your Life
Man in a crowd
How to Improve Self-Esteem With Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Female student sitting on the floor outside on campus
How to Manage College When You Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Two women talking together in cafe.
5 Things NOT to Do When Someone With GAD
Anxious woman trying to remember
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Can Negatively Impact Your Memory
Portrait of a young man smoking a cigarette
Why Nicotine and Tobacco Temporarily Relieve Anxiety
Woman lying on the floor relaxing
Taking the Right Steps for Reducing Your Anxiety Attack Symptoms
How Do Anxiety Blankets Work?
Anxious pregnant woman
Living With Generalized Anxiety Disorder When You're Pregnant
Woman speaking in front of a group of people
Strategies to Reduce Your Anxiety
Worried businesswoman using telephone at work
Confronting Fears and Barriers From Your Generalized Anxiety Disorder
anxious man running his hands through his hands with elbow on a table
Could Gluten Be a Cause of Your Anxiety and Depression?
Young man thinking in front of computer
Experiencing Anxiety as a Secondary Emotion
woman sitting in a shadow
Common Defense Mechanisms People Use to Cope with Anxiety
substance-abuse.jpg
How GAD Sometimes Overlaps With Substance Use Disorders
Page Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Generalized anxiety disorder. Updated June 2, 2020.

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety disorders. Updated July 2018.