generalized anxiety disorder


generalized anxiety disorder
a state of inappropriate and sometimes severe anxiety, without adequate cause, that lasts for at least six months. It affects about 2% of the population, women twice as often as men, and often develops in early adult life. It can, however, start at any age. There is a hereditary tendency to develop the disorder and about 25% of immediate relatives of sufferers are also affected. The disorder is thought to be caused by a disturbance of the functions of neuro-transmitters, such as adrenaline or GABA, in the frontal lobes or the limbic system of the brain. Symptoms include shakiness, bruxism, restlessness, fatigability, breathlessness, palpitations, sweating, clammy hands, dry mouth, lightheadedness, diarrhoea, flushing, and globus pharyngeus. Treatment is with beta blockers, antihistamines, and antidepressants.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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