Anxiety is a normal reaction to life’s stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations. This type of steady, all-over anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It’s common for people with GAD to have other conditions such as depression, panic attacks, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Generally, anxiety arises first, often during childhood.

The exaggerated worries and expectations of negative outcomes in unknown situations that typify anxiety are often accompanied by physical symptoms. These include muscle tension, headaches, stomach cramps, and frequent urination. Behavioral therapies, with or without medication to control symptoms, have proved highly effective against anxiety, especially in children.

Evidence suggests that both biology and environment can contribute to the disorder. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety; however, this doesn’t make development of the condition inevitable. Early traumatic experiences can also cause the body’s normal fear-processing system to be hyperreactive to stress, rendering people more susceptible to anxiety.

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