Generalized Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is marked by excessive, often uncontrollable worry about a number of events, such as finances, health, work/career or school, and interpersonal relationships.

Although most people feel worried from time to time, individuals with GAD experience worry that is frequent and in chronic, occurring most of the day, more days than not, for six months or longer. Individuals with GAD also experience other symptoms during worry, such as muscle tension, trouble sleeping (falling asleep or staying asleep), difficulty concentrating, irritability, and feeling easily fatigued. About 6% of Americans will meet criteria for GAD over the lifetime (Kessler et al., 2005).

Are you experiencing GAD?

  1. I constantly worry about bad things happening, even when there is nothing to worry about.
  2. I have a lot of difficulty putting worries out of my mind.
  3. My worry and associated symptoms (trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, etc.) interfere in work, interpersonal relationships, or other areas of my life.

If the above statements describe you, then you may have generalized anxiety disorder.

Is there help?

Yes. Certain medications and psychological treatments have been shown to be effective for some individuals with GAD. If you are interested in knowing more about medications for panic you can consult your family doctor or a psychiatrist.


Medications useful for treating GAD include certain types of antidepressants (e.g., serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and, in some cases, benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam, clonazepam, and others).


Cognitive behavior therapy is also an effective option for some individuals with GAD. This therapy focuses on helping the person understand their anxiety, monitor and change unhelpful thoughts in anxiety-provoking situations, learn relaxation strategies and gradually confront feared situations. You can contact a mental health professional or check out a self-help manual to find out more about this treatment.

At the UCSD Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders Clinic, we are conducting a research study for treatment of panic and generalized anxiety. Eligible participants will receive 10 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) over 8-10 weeks, In addition brain activity will be measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify key areas of the brain implicated in anxiety. For more information please call 1-877-UCSD-SHY (1-877-827-3749).

Informational Resources

Anxiety Disorders Association of America

National Institute of Mental Health