March 1st 2007
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive or unrealistic anxiety and worries about life circumstances. In the general population, the prevalence of GAD is 2% to 5%. It is the most frequent anxiety disorder seen in primary care, where 22% of patients complain of anxiety problems.1 DSM-IV lists 6 somatic symptoms associated with GAD: restlessness, increased fatigability, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance. These symptoms may present with hyperarousal, hypervigilance, and heightened muscle tension; autonomic symptoms are milder than in other anxiety disorders and can be absent.