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Lancet. 2006 Dec 16;368(9553):2156-66.

Generalised anxiety disorder.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Division of Neuroscience & Mental Health, Imperial College, London W6 8RP, UK.


Generalised anxiety disorder is a persistent and common disorder, in which the patient has unfocused worry and anxiety that is not connected to recent stressful events, although it can be aggravated by certain situations. This disorder is twice as common in women than it is in men. Generalised anxiety disorder is characterised by feelings of threat, restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and tension, and symptoms such as palpitations, dry mouth, and sweating. These symptoms are recognised as part of the anxiety syndrome rather than independent complaints. The symptoms overlap greatly with those of other common mental disorders and we could regard the disorder as part of a spectrum of mood and related disorders rather than an independent disorder. Generalised anxiety disorder has a relapsing course, and intervention rarely results in complete resolution of symptoms, but in the short term and medium term, effective treatments include psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy; self-help approaches based on cognitive behavioural therapy principles; and pharmacological treatments, mainly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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