A Generalized anxiety disorder is not simply a sense of worry that will not go away. The term has a specific meaning and refers to a diagnosable mental health condition. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) has established a set of guidelines that must be met in order for someone to be diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. Let us look at the six elements of this diagnosis:

First, one must experience a level of anxiety and worry beyond what is normally expected on more days than not for a period of six months or more. This anxiety must be about a collection of different occurrences or events. Worrying about the same thing all the time is not indicative of a generalized anxiety disorder.

Second, the worry or anxiety must be out of the control of the individual. If one worries a great deal, but is able to control the concern themselves, they do not have a generalized anxiety disorder. This differentiates a fairly common personality trait from a medical condition than may necessitate professional intervention.

Third, the individual must demonstrate at least three of six common symptoms in order to be diagnosed. The symptoms must have been experienced on more days that not over the six month period in question. The six symptoms include a sense of restlessness, fatiguing easily, being irritable, finding concentration difficult, tension in the muscles, or a disruption in normal sleeping habits. In children, a diagnosis may be given if only one of the six noted symptoms appears with sufficient regularity.

Fourth, the symptom logy cannot be an outgrowth of another underlying condition or diagnosable problem. For instance, those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may display the symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder, but would not be diagnosed as suffering from the disorder. This means that clinicians must carefully evaluate other possible causes of the symptoms displayed.

Fifth, the symptoms must be a disruption to one’s ability to function normally. There must be an identifiable impact on one’s ability to work, care for him- or herself, or to interact socially. Again, this insures that the individual is not simply displaying some type of personality quirk and has a mental health condition that warrants treatment.

Finally, the condition cannot be caused by some other outside factor such as drug use. Alcoholics and drug users may find themselves suffering from many of the same symptoms, but sustained sobriety may alleviate them, rendering a diagnosis with an anxiety disorder inaccurate.

Mental health professionals rely upon this six-step diagnostic process when evaluating patients who may have an anxiety disorder. They apply the DSM-IV standards carefully and use them as a means of guidance in determining one’s status. If one meets the six criteria outlined above, they can be diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorder, 11

Anxiety disorder, 11—me and the sysop (Flickr.com)

Here some news about anxiety disorder treatment, articles, in children, symptoms and definitions:

Social anxiety disorder goes beyond occasional nervousness Chicago Tribune

Social anxiety disorder goes beyond occasional nervousness. Chicago Tribune. How can I tell if I’m just shy or if what I’m experiencing is actually social anxiety disorder ANSWER It’s natural to feel some nervousness in certain social situations such as talking in front of others confronting a problem with someone or being and more.…

Anxiety Linked to High IQ MyHealthNewsDaily

Daily Mail. Anxiety Linked to High IQ. MyHealthNewsDaily. Excessive worry might not be such a bad thing after all a new small study suggests that such anxiety may have evolved in people along with intelligence. The results show among people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder high IQ scores were Survival of the Worriers How Worrying May Be Good for Your BrainEveryday Health. Worrying and intelligence evolutionarily inseparableScience a Gogo. Are Worrying and Intelligence Linked PsychCentral.com. Sacramento Bee Huffington Post UK. all 27 news articles.…