Skip to Main Content


Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a condition characterized by pervasive worry. It takes the form of undue distress about a variety of everyday things beyond the scope of more specific anxieties and phobias. In children the anxiety is often focused on performance in school or sports and may drive extreme studying or practicing. A key distinguishing factor in GAD is that the anxiety is focused not on exterior triggers like social interaction or contamination, but internally.

(Child Mind Institute)


Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it while others don't. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.

(The National Institute of Mental Health)


Someone with GAD will worry excessively and persistently about many different things. His or her worry is out of proportion to the concern/event, is greater than that experienced by most people, and is not something he or she can control. He or she usually knows that he or she worries too much but has great difficulty controlling the worry. Often the worry will be accompanied by a number of physical complaints, such as headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and upset stomach. Other symptoms include:

  • Restlessness, feeling on edge;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Trouble falling asleep (mind will not “shut off”);
  • Trembling, twitching;
  • Hot flashes;
  • Nausea;
  • Lightheadedness;
  • Going to bathroom frequently;
  • Air hunger – feeling as if you cannot get enough air;
  • Difficulty relaxing;
  • Easily startled;
  • Anticipating the worst outcome for any situation;
  • Excessive concerns and worries about usual daily activities.

These symptoms tend to be chronic, lasting at least 6 months and may cause teenagers to miss school or activities.