Anxiety is a normal, sometimes even healthy, part of life\u2014 and we all experience it at one time or another.\nFor others, however, anxiety can become chronic and problematic, interfering with their overall being.\nGeneralized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is excessive, prolonged anxiety about everyday tasks and activities.\nThose with Generalized Anxiety Disorder suffer from persistent worry that cannot be easily controlled and doesn’t seem to have a particular source. People with an anxiety disorder may be overly concerned with things like health, family, work, or finances. The reasons for their anxiety may shift over time.\nSymptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder\nExcessive worry that occurs every day for more than six months may be a sign of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other symptoms include:\n\n\nDifficulty controlling feelings of anxiety\n\n\nIrritability\n\n\nBecoming easily fatigued\n\n\nHeadaches\n\n\nMuscle tension\n\n\nHeart palpitations\n\n\nRELATED:\u00a0How Stress Affects Your Brain \nHow Generalized Anxiety Disorder Is Diagnosed\nThe exact cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder isn’t known, but it might be a combination of genetics, environment, and life experiences.\nThe condition can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional, who will discuss your symptoms and family history. Your counselor may ask a few questions about your anxiety, such as:\n\n\nIs it present during most days?\n\n\nHas it been present for more than six months?\n\n\nIs it interfering with your life?\n\n\nIs it upsetting you?\n\n\nIs It Anxiety or Depression?\nGeneralized Anxiety Disorder affects more than 6.8 million Americans, with women being twice as likely to be affected by the condition than men. It is one of the most common forms of mental illness in the United States.\nGeneralized Anxiety Disorder and depression are separate conditions but can share a few similar symptoms, including nervousness and irritability. Although it’s common for these disorders to coincide with one another, it is important to note that they are distinct conditions.\nRELATED:\u00a0Understanding Depression: Causes, Symptoms, and Helpful Resources\nTreatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder\nCounseling, psychotherapy, and medication are the most common treatment options for anxiety disorder. Your mental health professional can help find the right combination of treatment for you.\nPsychotherapy may include behavioral therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.\n\n\nBehavioral therapy: You will work with a therapist to identify what areas of your life are causing your anxiety and help you develop mechanisms to handle those areas.\n\n\nCognitive behavioral therapy: You will work with a therapist to learn how to change your pattern of thinking in the areas of your life that are causing you anxiety.\n\n\nIt’s important to know that those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder cannot prevent their condition, but they can manage their symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you believe you are suffering from excessive anxiety.\nVisit the website for Behavioral and Mental Health Services at UPMC for more information.