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generalized anxiety disorder

Your Journey to Anxiety-Free Living Starts Here

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can turn one’s daily existence into a perpetual cycle of worry, fear, and unease—but it is treatable.

With proven therapeutic interventions, sustainable coping strategies, and a supportive network, individuals struggling with GAD can develop resilience and cultivate a greater sense of control over their lives.

Our team understands that GAD is not a one-size-fits-all condition, which is why we believe a holistic and personalized approach paves the way for the most effective treatments for generalized anxiety disorder.

Generalized anxiety medications are designed to help address the neurotransmitter imbalances that often contribute to the condition. They alleviate symptoms, stabilize mood, and improve cognitive functioning.

However, finding the best medication for generalized anxiety disorder involves the guidance and expertise of a certified mental health professional.

Using a systematic and personalized approach, our psychiatric care providers carefully consider factors like your specific symptoms, overall health, potential side effects, and unique biochemistry.

By looking at the whole picture, we can prescribe the most suitable medications for your specific needs, optimizing their effectiveness while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.

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While medications are integral in treating and managing anxiety, the best treatment for generalized anxiety disorder often involves supportive therapy.

Effective psychotherapy helps individuals recognize and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with GAD. It fosters self-awareness and equips patients with valuable tools to cope with and overcome excessive worry and fear.

Unfortunately, schedule, transportation, and commute issues can impede a patient’s access to therapy.

By providing user-friendly and HIPAA-compliant telepsychiatry services, we help ensure every patient has a safe and accessible space to seek mental health support from their providers.

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Combining medication management and therapy sessions is often considered an effective and comprehensive approach for managing GAD, addressing the condition’s complexity from both biological and psychological perspectives.

  • A well-prescribed medication plan can manage and reduce your symptoms, which helps you be more engaged and receptive during psychotherapy sessions.
  • Supportive therapy with an experienced mental health professional can help address underlying issues, introduce effective coping mechanisms, and establish stress management strategies.

In addition to providing psychotherapy and medication management services separately, our team can expertly design holistic treatment plans that combine both approaches.

As seasoned psychiatric nurse practitioners (NPs), we don’t just aim for immediate anxiety relief. We strive to empower every patient with comprehensive tools and strategies for long-term mental well-being.

Experience Holistic Healing Here

generalized anxiety disorder

Mental Health Condition: Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder

In 2023 alone, at least one in three adults in the U.S. report having symptoms of anxiety or depression. They navigate daily life with a constant undercurrent of apprehension.

Understanding anxiety involves recognizing its diverse manifestations and the impact it can have on one’s mental and physical health. Through therapy, medication, or a healthy combination of both, psychiatric care providers can help individuals find healing and freedom from anxiety.

What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder in the U.S., affecting 6.8 million adults. It is characterized by persistent and excessive worry.

Individuals with GAD often find it challenging to control their anxious thoughts, which can extend to a wide range of concerns such as health, work, relationships, and finances. The worry is disproportionate to the actual situation, difficult to control, and persists for at least six months.

GAD often co-occurs with major depression, and physical symptoms like muscle tension, restlessness, fatigue, and irritability may accompany the psychological distress.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

While each person may experience GAD symptoms differently, the following are the most common:

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Awareness that they worry much more than they should

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Restlessness and difficulty relaxing

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Difficulty concentrating

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Increased startle response

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Difficulty falling or staying asleep

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Constant fatigue

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Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches

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Difficulty swallowing

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Trembling or twitching

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Excessive sweating

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Shortness of breath

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Frequent urination

If you struggle with GAD, your symptoms may fluctuate over time and often get worse during times of stress. This is why it’s crucial that you seek the guidance and expertise of mental health professionals.

Our team of anxiety specialists is ready to help identify the root cause of the problem, provide you with an accurate diagnosis, and recommend suitable treatment options.

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Who We Are: Competent Providers Delivering Comprehensive, Collaborative Care

Our team of psychiatric NPs understands that every patient is unique.

Who you are, what you like, what you do, how you were brought up, what’s going on in your life—all of these make the conditions surrounding your GAD unique to you.

It also means treatments that worked on someone else may not work for you.

With our extensive experience, genuine compassion, and evidence-based interventions, we craft holistic, balanced, and patient-focused treatment plans designed to meet your specific needs.

Our goal is not to simply manage your generalized anxiety symptoms. We are committed to helping you find lasting and sustainable change that leads to profound healing.

You deserve to live your best life. Our San Diego-based providers can help you do that.

How This Works

Our integrative online psychiatry services make consistent and quality care accessible to individuals struggling with generalized anxiety disorder.

One-on-One Online Consultations

Whether it’s an initial consult or a follow-up appointment, our HIPAA-compliant telepsychiatry service is a safe space to share your thoughts and receive specialized care.

Anytime, Anywhere Communication

Get uninterrupted mental health support between video consultations. Our highly secure inboxes are open for questions and concerns about your treatment.

Regular Check-In and Monitoring

Continuous monitoring is essential in treating and managing GAD. It allows us to identify emerging challenges, spot symptom changes, address medication side effects, and evaluate how effectively your treatment plan works.


  • Experienced psychiatric NPs who pursue long-term mental wellness for every patient
  • One-on-one video appointments whenever you need them and wherever you feel comfortable
  • Uninterrupted communication with your dedicated psychiatry provider via messaging
  • Patient-centric and evidence-based prescription of the best medicine for generalized anxiety disorder
  • Continuous monitoring of progress and results to ensure your treatment plan is effective
  • Transparent billing with support staff readily available
  • Easy, on-demand, and flexible patient scheduling process
  • Supportive telepsychiatry that offers the same level of care as an in-person office visit

Standard Care

  • Generalists with limited training and experience in treating generalized anxiety disorder
  • In-office 15-minute talks scheduled weeks in advance that could delay necessary intervention
  • Pre-packaged treatment strategy that could leave out unique patient needs and personalized care
  • Guess-work prescription of meds for generalized anxiety disorder
  • Inadequate outcome measurement
  • Disorganized billing with instances of unexpected fees
  • Overly complicated appointment scheduling process
  • In-office appointments that require stressful commutes and long wait times

Frequently Asked Questions About Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Whether you’re seeking to understand its common signs and symptoms, explore the diagnostic process, or learn about effective treatments, this section is designed to offer the insights and guidance you may need when navigating GAD.

Johns Hopkins Medicine defines generalized anxiety disorder as a condition of excessive worry about everyday issues and situations—even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. It lasts over six months and may also bring restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, increased muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping.

When their anxiety level is mild to moderate or with treatment, people with GAD can function socially, have full and meaningful lives, and be gainfully employed.

Individuals who struggle with GAD may resort to avoiding certain situations and may miss out on social, professional, and personal opportunities because of their worry. With severe generalized anxiety disorder, people can face difficulty carrying out even the simplest daily activities.

Although it can occur in childhood, GAD often starts around age 30 and develops slowly. GAD is also more common in women than in men.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, GAD is diagnosed if you have worried excessively about a variety of topics, everyday problems, or future events more days than not for at least six months. In addition to worry, you must experience three or more symptoms that cause clinically significant distress.

Depressive episodes can be classified as mild, moderate, and severe depending on the number, type, and severity, as well as the degree of functional impairment.

While each person may experience symptoms differently, here are the most common ones for GAD:

  • Excessive Worry. Constantly and uncontrollably worry about various aspects of life, even when there is little or no apparent reason.
  • Restlessness. Feeling on edge, restless, or keyed up; difficulty relaxing.
  • Muscle Tension. Experiencing chronic muscle tension leads to symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, or general bodily discomfort.
  • Fatigue. Feeling physically and mentally fatigued, even after minimal exertion.
  • Irritability. Becoming easily irritable or on edge, often affecting relationships and daily interactions.
  • Sleep Disturbances. Having difficulty falling or staying asleep, resulting in poor-quality or insufficient sleep.
  • Difficulty Concentrating. Finding it challenging to concentrate on tasks due to intrusive and persistent worry.
  • Physical Symptoms. Experiencing physical symptoms like trembling, sweating, or shaking.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues. Experiencing digestive problems such as stomachaches, nausea, or diarrhea.
  • Physical Symptoms. Unexplained aches and pains, headaches, or digestive issues
  • Irritability. Increased irritability or restlessness, particularly in children and adolescents
  • Excessive Self-Consciousness. Persistently fearing being judged, evaluated, or criticized by others.

While anxiety is a normal and adaptive response to stress or perceived threats, GAD differs in terms of intensity, duration, and the impact it has on daily life.

Normal Anxiety

Normal anxiety is a temporary and proportionate response to a specific stressor, such as an upcoming exam or job interview.

Normal anxiety is often related to specific events or situations.

Normal anxiety, even when distressing, typically does not impair one's ability to engage in regular activities.

Normal anxiety may cause some physical symptoms, but they are usually temporary and not as pronounced.

Normal anxiety tends to resolve once the stressor is removed or the situation is resolved.

Normal anxiety, when managed appropriately, does not typically have long-term health consequences.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD involves excessive, persistent worry disproportionate to the actual situation and lasts for at least six months.

GAD involves chronic and pervasive worry about various aspects of everyday life, including health, work, relationships, and other routine concerns.

GAD significantly interferes with daily functioning, impacting work, relationships, and overall quality of life.

GAD is associated with physical symptoms such as muscle tension, restlessness, fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues.

Individuals with GAD often find it challenging to control their worry, and it persists across various situations.

GAD can lead to chronic stress, which may contribute to physical health issues, such as cardiovascular problems or weakened immune function.

Experiencing occasional anxiety is a natural part of life. However, when anxiety becomes chronic, overwhelming, and interferes with daily functioning, it may indicate the presence of a disorder like GAD. If you suspect you may have GAD or if anxiety is significantly impacting your life, reach out to trusted psychiatry providers for an accurate generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis and appropriate treatment

Like several other mental health disorders, the exact cause of GAD isn’t fully understood, but it is likely to involve a combination of the following factors:

  • Genetics.
    There is evidence to suggest that a family history of anxiety disorders may increase the risk of developing GAD. Certain genetic factors may contribute to an individual's susceptibility to anxiety.
  • Brain Chemistry.
    Imbalances in neurotransmitters and differences in the functioning of serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) may play a role in GAD.
  • Personality Factors.
    Individuals with certain personality traits, such as a tendency to be perfectionistic, have a higher risk of developing GAD. Chronic worrying and an inability to tolerate uncertainty may contribute.
  • Life Experiences.
    Traumatic or stressful events, especially during childhood, can increase the likelihood of developing GAD. Chronic exposure to stressors or a history of adverse life events may contribute to the disorder.
  • Biological Factors.
    Conditions such as an overactive fight-or-flight response or an imbalance in the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, which regulates the body's response to stress, may be linked to GAD.
  • Other Mental Health Conditions.
    GAD often coexists with other mental health disorders, such as depression, panic disorder, or other anxiety disorders. Shared risk factors or overlapping symptoms may contribute to this comorbidity.
  • Cognitive Factors.Persistent negative thought patterns, cognitive biases, and an inability to manage and control worry may contribute to the development of GAD.

Treatment for GAD often involves a comprehensive strategy tailored to the individual's specific needs and preferences, the severity of symptoms, and the presence of any co-occurring health conditions. According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, the common treatment modalities for GAD include:

  • Psychotherapy

    Psychiatry providers often use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat GAD. This research-supported type of psychotherapy helps patients identify and modify negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, and manage excessive worry. CBT is the gold standard for psychotherapy.

    Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a newer form of psychotherapy treatment. It focuses on increasing psychological flexibility—the ability to be open, adaptable, and effectively engage in behaviors that align with one's values in the presence of challenging thoughts and emotions.

    Our team of experienced anxiety specialists believes in the importance of continuous and consistent psychiatric care. This is why we offer ongoing psychotherapy services where individuals struggling with GAD can receive personalized support and guidance in managing their symptoms—in the comfort of their own homes. To learn more about our telepsychiatry services, schedule an online appointment with one of our mental health providers today!

  • Medication Management

    Medications can often play a crucial role in treating GAD by addressing underlying neurochemical imbalances associated with excessive worry and anxiety. They can help relieve GAD symptoms, improve functioning, prevent panic attacks, improve sleep quality, and make it easier for patients to engage in psychotherapy sessions.

    The common medications used in GAD treatment and management include:

    • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are antidepressants that doctors can prescribe to individuals with GAD as first-line treatment.
    • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). SNRIs are antidepressants that also work for anxiety disorders and chronic pains. They increase the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain and regulate breathing, blood flow, and heart rate.
    • Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines reinforce the brain chemical GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and block the neurotransmissions or brain signals. Providers may prescribe the short-term use of benzodiazepines for rapid relief of acute anxiety symptoms. However, they generally avoid long-term use due to the risk of dependence.
    • Buspirone. Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that works differently from benzodiazepines and has a lower risk of dependence.

    Choosing medication for GAD depends on factors such as the patient’s specific symptoms, medical history, preferences, and the drug’s potential side effects. Working closely with one’s mental health provider is essential to determining the most suitable medication and monitoring for any potential side effects or adjustments needed in the treatment plan. This is why our team takes a holistic and collaborative approach to medication management.

    When we treat anxiety, we look at the whole picture. By following this methodology, our team doesn’t settle with merely alleviating symptoms—we delve into the root cause, pursue a holistic solution, and deliver long-term results.

  • Support Groups

    Individuals grappling with anxiety disorders often find value in joining self-help or support groups where they can openly discuss their challenges and milestones with fellow members. Thanks to modern technology, these groups exist in person and online.

    It's important, however, to approach advice received from support group members with caution, recognizing that it does not substitute professional treatment recommendations provided by an experienced psychiatry provider.

  • Healthy Habits

    While it cannot replace a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan, adopting a healthy lifestyle is beneficial in mitigating anxiety. Research shows that incorporating specific health-conscious habits into your daily routine (e.g., reducing caffeine consumption and getting adequate sleep) can effectively reduce anxiety symptoms when combined with psychotherapy and medication.

    Stress management practices like regular exercise, mindfulness, and meditation help alleviate anxiety symptoms and amplify the impact of psychotherapeutic interventions. To learn more about how a comprehensive and holistic approach can significantly improve your journey toward overcoming anxiety, schedule an online appointment with one of our psychiatric care providers!

  • It may be tempting for GAD patients to identify and address the issue right away by self-medicating, but there’s more to treating anxiety than meets the eye.

    In many cases, an individual may treat just one aspect of the problem. Without the support and guidance of a psychiatry provider, people may take a specific drug as a quick fix for some of their symptoms while worsening others. Other times, the symptoms could be from a mood disorder, which the patient may interpret as GAD.

    We strongly discourage self-medication. Medications prescribed for anxiety should be under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional who carefully considers individual health factors and potential side effects. Self-help strategies, such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques, can be beneficial but should not replace professional treatment.

    We understand that self-medication isn’t just because patients want to recover the quickest way possible; it could be because they don’t have access to a good psychiatric care provider because of work, education, financial issues, or distance. This is why we offer one-on-one video consultations and provide online anxiety prescriptions.

    Our San Diego-based psychiatry practice leverages modern technology to make holistic anxiety treatment as convenient and accessible as possible. Speak to an experienced anxiety specialist and get your anxiety medication prescription online with our tried-and-tested telepsychiatry service!

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