What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a general feeling of worry, unease, or nervousness regarding an imminent event or something with an outcome that’s uncertain. It’s a normal response to simple tasks that can require more effort. From work stressors to relationship responsibilities, occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. We all get anxious from time to time. But, persistent anxiety could indicate an anxiety disorder.

For many people, anxiety isn’t an occasional feeling. It happens intensely and all the time, even when you can’t pinpoint a cause. Anxiety disorders involve frequent and intense, excessive worry, and fear surrounding everyday situations. In many cases, people with anxiety disorders have repeated episodes of sudden intense anxiety and a terror or fear that peaks within minutes (panic attack).

This is a type of anxiety is an illness called Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD. GAD is characterized by an uncontrollable worry that interferes with a person’s everyday life. People with GAD become anxious about things that don’t warrant a high-anxiety response. Sometimes just the thought of waking up and making it through the day can trigger an episode.


What are the symptoms of Anxiety?

Anxiety can cause those who suffer to anticipate disaster or catastrophe (without a known reason) and obsess over “what-if” scenarios…

  • What if I get fired?
  • What if my boyfriend breaks up with me?
  • What if I get an illness?

Additionally, as with many brain illnesses, people with GAD can experience physical anxiety symptoms as well.

How to Treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or TMS therapy. Here’s a closer look at common treatment options for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

  • Psychotherapy: A type of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially useful for treating GAD. CBT teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and worried. For more information on psychotherapy, visit
  • Medications: Many generic and branded medications are available. The good news each year we see new medication becoming available or branded medications becoming available as generics to keep costs lower. Common medications include: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), other serotonergic medication, and Benzodiazepines
  • TMS Therapy: TMS therapy is a non-drug treatment using magnetic pulses to REDUCE brain activity in the areas of the brain known to be overactive when anxiety stressors are present. Click here to learn more about TMS therapy.

Anxiety FAQs

Did you know a portion of people who suffer from anxiety also have depression? In psychiatry, this is called comorbidity or the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions.

We find this often in our practice and can be resolved by treating depression. Sometimes, a simple adjustment in medication can help people find relief. Other times, we turn to innovative treatment options like TMS therapy, a non-drug depression treatment option. Click here to learn more about TMS therapy at TMS Washington. 

GAD affects people of all genders and age groups. It commonly sets in between adolescence and middle age and occurs alongside other mood disorders such as panic disorder, OCD, and depression.

GAD affects an estimated 6.8 million U.S. adults each year and is more common in women than in men.

Common psychological symptoms include:

  • Excessive worry about everyday things
  • Trouble functioning because of worry or feelings of nervousness
  • Restlessness or trouble relaxing
  • Hard time concentrating
  • Easily startled
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains
  • Feeling irritable or feel “on edge”
  • Sweat a lot, feel light-headed or out of breath


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