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Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - What it is

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder that involves uncontrollable worrying, nervousness and tension. People with GAD worry about everyday life events with no apparent reason for concern. The worry is often unrealistic or out of proportion. It interferes with the daily functioning of a person’s life and may also affect their relationships.​

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Symptoms

Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Symptoms related to feelings:

Symptoms of GAD related to feelings - KKH

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Difficult to concentrate or focus on task.
  • Unable to control or stop worrying.
  • Unrealistic view of problems.
  • Mind going blank.
  • Unable to tolerate uncertainty.
  • Difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep longer.
  • Avoiding situations / putting things off that make you overwhelmed or anxious.

Physical symptoms:

Physical symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder - KKH

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - How to prevent?

Tips for prevention and recovery of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Reduce consumption of beverages that contains caffeine (e.g. Tea, coffee, cola and other sugary drinks).
  • Eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Include some form of exercise on a daily basis (e.g. Walking, yoga, deep breathing).
  • Plan ahead and organise for anxiety causing events.
  • Recognise the symptoms and use relaxation techniques before the anxiety escalates.
  • Seek help from friends, family members, and / or your therapist.

The information on Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is also available for download in pdf format.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Causes and Risk Factors

What causes Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Genetic factors

Individuals who have a family history of anxiety / mood disorders are more likely to develop GAD.

Life experiences

Particularly stressful life incidents such as an accident or the sudden death of a close family member or friend.

Individuals who have gone through a traumatic life experience such as physical, emotional sexual abuse may also develop GAD.

Biological factors

Some changes in the brain functioning due to the chemical called neurotransmitters, that transmit information from one cell to another have also been linked to GAD.

Substance abuse

Excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco smoking have been established as a risk factor for developing anxiety disorders.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Diagnosis

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Treatments

What are the treatment options of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

GAD can be effectively managed with:


GAD can often be well managed by various therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

CBT has been proven to be effective in treating GAD. It teaches individuals to recognise their thoughts and ways to change their behavior in situations that trigger anxiety.

Relaxation techniques

Practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation can be very useful to calm the mind and body.

Regular practice of these techniques can help to significantly bring down stress levels and assist the individual to be more mindful of his / her bodily sensations when faced with situations that cause anxiety.


Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat generalized anxiety disorder in cases where the anxiety is interfering with the daily functioning and well-being. Discuss any concerns with your doctor, so you can collaboratively work out the best treatment plan for your situation.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Preparing for surgery

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Post-surgery care

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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