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Generalized Anxiety Disorder


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition that causes you to feel worried or nervous for at least 6 months. The anxiety may be much more severe than the event causing it. You may not be able to do your daily activities because of the anxiety.



  • Antidepressants: These medicines are given to decrease or stop the symptoms of anxiety or depression. Other behavior problems may also be treated with antidepressants.

  • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Monitor your condition:

Keep a record of the situations that cause your symptoms. Bring the diary with you when you see your primary healthcare provider. Include the following:

  • What were you doing when the symptoms started?

  • Had you eaten anything unusual, or taken a new medicine or herbal supplement?

  • Were you stressed or upset during the time leading up to the attack?

  • How often do you have symptoms? How long do they last?

  • What were your thoughts and feelings during these situations?

  • What symptoms did you have?

  • Did anything help ease or stop the symptoms, such as a relaxation technique?

Limit or avoid alcohol:

Ask your caregiver if alcohol is safe for you. You may not be able to drink alcohol if you take certain anxiety or depression medicines. Alcohol can also increase depression. Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day if you are a woman. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day if you are a man. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have new symptoms since your last visit.

  • Your anxiety keeps you from doing your daily activities.

  • You have problems that you think may be caused by the medicine you are taking.

  • Your symptoms get worse or do not get better with treatment.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel like fainting or are lightheaded or too dizzy to stand up.

  • You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.

  • You have chest pain, tightness, or heaviness that may spread to your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.