Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
The main characteristic of GAD is worrying, and the worry is often very difficult to control. It usually is combined with at least 3 of the following symptoms according to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) 'feeling restless, keyed up and on edge, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.' People with GAD often worry repeatedly about a variety of topics. According to the book Cognitive Therapy of Anxiety Disorders by Adrian Wells, 'the experience of worrying can range from a pervasive 'feeling' of being worried or to episodes of rumination lasting from minutes to hours'. It is extremely debilitating to repeatedly worry and causes high levels of distress. People with GAD often also have beliefs about worry such as 'If I don't worry, I will lose control of things', or 'If I stop worrying, I won't be prepared if things do go wrong.' These kinds of beliefs often make it a very frightening prospect for the person to begin to let go of the process of worrying, and yet the sufferer knows that their life is being compromised by worry. This creates a vicious cycle of suffering, and CBT treatment can help the sufferer to begin to break this vicious cycle.