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Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a prevalent mental health condition characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry about various aspects of life.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a prevalent mental health condition characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry about various aspects of life. Worrying about specific matters is something that everyone experiences at some point, but unlike normal concerns, the anxiety associated with GAD is chronic, persistent, and often disproportionate to the actual circumstances. Individuals with GAD find themselves trapped in a cycle of worrying that extends beyond specific situations and interferes with their ability to relax and enjoy life.

The root of GAD is the presence of excessive worry across a wide range of domains, including health, finances, work, relationships, and everyday tasks. This pervasive and constant state of anxiety happens even when there is nothing to worry about, and it can be mentally exhausting and emotionally draining, impacting overall well-being and daily life.

The duration of symptoms is a crucial aspect of diagnosing GAD. To meet the diagnostic criteria, excessive worry and anxiety must be present for most days over a period of at least six months. This extended timeframe distinguishes GAD from more transient periods of stress.

The exact cause of GAD is complex and not fully understood. It likely involves a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Genetic studies of individuals who have anxiety disorders (including GAD) suggest that the hereditary contribution to developing anxiety disorders is only approximately 30–40%, which suggests that environmental factors may be more important in determining whether an individual develops GAD.

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

At Light On Anxiety, we offer integrated treatment plans that combine evidence-based CBT therapy with medication management to address both the psychological and physiological aspects of fear of flying.

Our therapists and psychiatric providers collaborate closely to tailor treatment plans to each individual’s needs and preferences.

  • CBT helps individuals develop coping skills and address underlying cognitive and behavioral patterns contributing to their fear of flying.
  • Medication can provide additional support by reducing anxiety symptoms and enhancing the effectiveness of therapy.

Through this combined approach, we empower clients to overcome their fear of flying and experience the joy and freedom of air travel without distress.


In addition to our comprehensive therapy services, Light On Anxiety offers medication management for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) through our compassionate and collaborative approach to treatment. Our medication prescribers are available to work closely with you to provide personalized care tailored to your unique needs and preferences. By staying abreast of the latest research and best practices, our prescribers offer evidence-based treatment options that are both effective and safe.

Our medication prescribers offer a range of medications proven to be effective in managing the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), and fluoxetine (Prozac), are commonly prescribed due to their ability to regulate serotonin levels in the brain, which can help alleviate anxiety. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), including venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta), are another class of medications that may be recommended to treat  GAD, as they target both serotonin and norepinephrine to reduce anxiety symptoms. Additionally, benzodiazepines like lorazepam (Ativan) or clonazepam (Klonopin) may be prescribed for short-term relief of acute anxiety symptoms, although they are typically used cautiously due to the risk of dependence and tolerance.

Our experienced medication prescribers are available to work closely with you to determine the most appropriate medication regimen based on your individual needs and preferences, prioritizing safety, efficacy, and long-term wellness.  Through open communication and shared decision-making, we will ensure you feel empowered and informed throughout your treatment journey.

Integrating CBT + Medication

Our approach involves a careful integration of CBT and medication, depending on patient preferences and clinical needs, to address both the biological and psychological aspects of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

  1. Collaborative Treatment Planning: Our experienced team works collaboratively to create an individualized treatment plan that assists you in meeting your treatment goals as effectively and rapidly as possible.  
  2. Patient Empowerment: We believe in empowering you with comprehensive information about Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) treatment options, allowing you to make informed decisions about your treatment journey. 
  3. Monitoring Progress: Regular monitoring and adjustments to your treatment plan are made based on your response and progress. This ensures you are obtaining maximum benefits from the time and energy you are putting into the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) treatment process.  
  4. Ongoing Support:  We offer ongoing support and adjustments to your treatment plan as needed, ensuring a comprehensive and personalized approach to your path to healing.

Your Unique Path to Freedom From Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) 

Our goal is to create a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and preferences, recognizing that each individual’s journey is unique.

What are the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by a persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of life, leading to a range of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms. Here, we delve into the nuanced presentation of GAD symptoms:

The characteristic symptom is a chronic and pervasive worry that extends across different domains, including health, work, relationships, and daily responsibilities. Individuals with GAD find it challenging to control this excessive worry, and it often persists even when there is no immediate threat.
Physical manifestations of GAD include restlessness and a heightened state of muscle tension. Individuals may experience muscle aches, soreness, or tension due to the chronic activation of the body’s stress response.
GAD can contribute to increased irritability, making it difficult for individuals to navigate daily interactions. The persistent worry and physical tension associated with the disorder contribute to heightened emotional reactivity.
Chronic worry and heightened arousal can lead to fatigue, even after adequate rest. Individuals with GAD may find it challenging to relax and may experience difficulty falling or staying asleep.
The cognitive impact of GAD is evident in difficulties concentrating or feeling that the mind goes blank. Excessive worry can interfere with the ability to focus on tasks, leading to impaired work or academic performance.
GAD often presents with various physical symptoms, including headaches, stomachaches, and other discomforts. These physical manifestations may be a consequence of the chronic activation of the body’s stress response.
Individuals with GAD may exhibit perfectionistic tendencies and engage in overthinking, dwelling on potential negative outcomes. This cognitive pattern contributes to the cycle of excessive worry and can impact decision-making processes.
GAD frequently coexists with sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restorative sleep.

FAQs about Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder feels like an ongoing sense of worry and fear, often without a specific cause. Physical symptoms like muscle tension, restlessness, and irritability may accompany persistent anxious thoughts. This condition can affect daily life, making it challenging to relax or focus on tasks, even when recognizing the irrationality of worries.

The exact causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) are complex and can involve a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Imbalances in brain chemistry, family history of anxiety, and life stressors are among the contributing elements.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a common mental health condition, affecting approximately 3.1% of the global population in a given year. It's more prevalent in women and often coexists with other anxiety or mood disorders, underscoring the importance of awareness and effective treatment options.
While the severity of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can fluctuate, it doesn't necessarily worsen with age. With proper treatment, individuals can manage symptoms. However, untreated GAD may persist or exacerbate, highlighting the importance of timely intervention and ongoing mental health support throughout one's life.

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