Diagnosis, Clinical Features, and Theoretical Perspectives

  • Holly Hazlett-Stevens
Part of the Series in Anxiety and Related Disorders book series (SARD)

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic anxiety condition characterized by excessive and uncontrollable worry and associated somatic symptoms. Unlike other anxiety disorders, GAD involves diffuse anxiety in the absence of a specific feared object, class of stimuli, or situation. Individuals suffering from GAD instead fear and avoid an array of subtle internal and external stimuli. Worry, a cognitive process in which individuals anticipate threatening outcomes and events, becomes a strategy to detect and to cope with impending threat. As a result, these individuals live in a constant state of hypervigilance. Because anticipated threats typically are highly unlikely or vague in nature, the innate human capability to plan ahead by thinking into the future generates subjective anxiety and tension rather than constructive problem-solving action. Chronic muscle tension, sleep disturbance, and a variety of other symptoms also develop. Individuals with this anxiety condition often...


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Anxiety Disorder Generalize Anxiety Disorder Social Anxiety Disorder Behavioral Avoidance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Holly Hazlett-Stevens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology/298University of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA

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