What are generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder?
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder (PD) are mental health disorders that cause anxiety or worry. All of us worry or panic sometimes, but you might have GAD or PD if these feelings often affect your life.
People with GAD tend to worry so much about everyday things that it gets in the way of their daily function. People with GAD often have other symptoms such as:
Feeling keyed up or on edge
People with PD have panic attacks. These involve sudden feelings of fear or anxiety. Sometimes panic attacks happen for a reason, like being in a busy public place, but people with PD can also have a panic attack out of the blue. Panic attacks include at least four of these symptoms:
Trembling or shaking
Feeling like you cannot breathe or are choking
Feeling dizzy or faint
Chills or hot flashes
Numbness or tingling
Feeling that your body or things around you are not real
Fear of going crazy or losing control
Fear of dying
How are GAD and PD treated?
It is important to tell your doctor if your symptoms suggest GAD or PD. Some symptoms can also be signs of other serious problems.
Medicine and mental health or talk therapy are the main ways to treat GAD and PD. Many people do best when treated with both medicine and talk therapy. Your doctor might also tell you how to avoid situations that trigger your panic or anxiety. Making lifestyle changes is often helpful. These changes include getting more exercise, drinking less coffee, and getting better sleep. Tell your doctor what medicines you are taking because some medicines can make anxiety worse.