It’s normal to feel anxious at times. Everyone does. We spend anxious nights waiting for the results of our exam the week before. We’re worried that something will go wrong before singing or dancing in front of a large audience. We feel uneasy when someone we don’t like hits on us. Yes, it’s normal to feel anxious. In fact, anxiety sometimes helps us respond appropriately to danger. It also helps motivate us to excel in school or at work.
However, some people feel very anxious even for no reason at all. Some people worry so much that it disrupts their daily lives. If you’re one of these people, you may have a condition called “general anxiety disorder” or GAD. This condition causes unrealistic or excessive anxiety. Living with it can be very difficult. It comes with a truckload of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms that usually affect your life and your relationship with the people around you.
As with most mental health conditions, the causes of generalized anxiety disorder is not completely understood. Experts believe that it may involve serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are chemicals that the brain naturally produces. However, it is very likely that GAD is also caused by genetics, the environment and the body’s biological processes.
Along with panic attacks, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder, GAD is among the most common anxiety disorders. Many GAD sufferers believe that their anxiety dates back to childhood. However, it is also possible that it is developed during adulthood.
Although the exact causes of general anxiety disorder is still a mystery to researchers, certain factors are believed to increase an individual’s risk of developing this condition. These risk factors include:
Illness. Serious illnesses such as cancer can cause anxiety. Severe ailments come with worries about the treatment, finances and the future.
Stress. An accumulation of stressful events in life may trigger excessive anxiety.
Childhood adversity. Children who experienced or witnessed tragic events and who endured hardships are at higher risk to develop GAD.
Genetics. Some studies show that GAD has a genetic component. It runs in families.
Remember that these are just risk factors. It only suggests that people with one or some of the above elements are more prone to develop GAD. To stop worrying and be completely sure about it, it’s best to consult a health expert.
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