We all feel nervous or anxious at times. Often referred to as the "fight or flight" response, the adrenaline rush that accompanies feelings of anxiety and fear help prepare us to run or defend ourselves when necessary. However, for some individuals feelings of anxiety and fear become overwhelming and interfere with one's ability to work, engage socially and function normally day to day.
In addition to feeling an adrenaline rush, individuals who experience extreme anxiety may also feel short of breath, experiencing pounding in their chests and feel dizzy and nauseous in certain situations. In some individuals, these feelings and responses are triggered by certain things or events. For others, these responses and feelings are more persistent.
Individuals who are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder tend to worry excessively and imagine possible negative scenarios when in certain situations or while attempting to make decisions. Generalized anxiety sufferers constantly feel like something is wrong and often have trouble relaxing and sleeping. Constant feelings of worry and fear often interfere with an individual's ability to engage in social situations, make decisions and carry out assigned work duties.
Medical scientists and doctors believe that genetics and environmental factors may contribute to an individual developing generalized anxiety disorder. For some people, prescription medications in addition to counseling or therapy may be effective in reducing feelings of anxiety and fear. Additionally, making healthy lifestyle decisions with regard to diet, exercise and sleep can sometimes help improve or lessen symptoms.
It can be challenging to treat generalized anxiety disorder. Success in treating the negative symptoms related to the disorder depend largely on an individual's age, the severity of symptoms, existence of underlying mental health issues and life circumstances.