I’m a worrier, do I have an anxiety disorder?
There are several differences between general anxiety disorder (GAD) and what we might call “normal” worry-anxiety. First, those with GAD suffer from excessive worrying that typically interferes with everyday life functioning, while those dealing with normal worry-anxiety would not classify their anxieties as “excessive,” and might even perceive their worries as manageable since they are able to step apart from these worries when required to function with day-to-day demands.
Second, the worrying of those with GAD can occur without precipitant (i.e., a stressful, challenging circumstance), the quality of the worrying is more ruminative and distressing and will persist for a longer duration than normal worry-anxiety, and the range of worry-thoughts is less connected to a given circumstance and more diffuse in nature (finances, health, terrorism, etc.)
Third, those with GAD are more likely to report physical symptoms resulting from their constant worrying and related difficulties with their jobs, relationships, and other significant life demands.
General anxiety disorder is characterized by the following symptoms:
● Excessive worry and anxiety
● Feeling irritable, testy, or grouchy much of the time
● Feeling restless, keyed up, or edgy
● Difficulty concentrating or forgetting
● Muscle tension
● Sleep difficulties (difficulty falling or staying asleep, restless, non-restorative sleep)