John of Greensboro, N.C., is one of the 4 million Americans who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
GAD is a serious medical condition characterized by excessive worry about everyday events such as work or family responsibilities. People who suffer from GAD experience chronic worry more days than not for a period of at least six months.
“For me, having GAD meant sleepless nights, irritability and constant negative thoughts. I found myself being reclusive and not wanting to deal with people, including my wife. It's a tough way to live,” said John.
Symptoms of GAD vary from person to person, but include uncontrollable worry, in addition to any three of the following:
* Feeling restless or on edge.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Muscle tension.
* Trouble sleeping.
* Changes in sleep pattern.
“GAD is a debilitating condition, but the good news is that with proper treatment, a patient can return to leading a full and productive life,” said Dr. Brian Barash, medical director at Two Rivers Psychiatric Hospital in Kansas City. “There are safe and effective treatments available, and it is important to work with your doctor to find an appropriate treatment option.”
Treatments for GAD typically include medication, psychotherapy or a combination of these two methods. The most recently approved medication for GAD, Lexapro, has been effective and well-tolerated in patients with this disorder. For many patients, it relieved symptoms as early as the first week of treatment. The most common side effects associated with Lexapro include nausea and fatigue.
After suffering for years, John finally sought professional help. Within weeks, both he and his family noticed an improvement in his symptoms.
“Treatment has made me a much happier, more fulfilled human being. It has shown me a side of life that I've never experienced before,” he said.