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Disorders Treated - Worries

Definition

Worry is an ineffective cognitive act of thinking about a particular concern without any utility.  Thinking about something, which may remind us to do something is helpful.  Likewise, if a problem is solvable by applying our minds, e.g., solving an arithmetic problem- this kind of mental activity is adaptive and therefore not worry.  Worrying usually involves thinking of situations, or potential situations, which one cannot do anything to resolve at the moment and yet cannot stop thinking about it.  

Worrying can be a normal part of functioning, but when extreme can become dysfunctional.

Diagnosis

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder where the primary symptom is excessive worry.  Four percent of Americans suffer from GAD, it is more common in women than in men, and typical onset is in late adolescence or early adulthood.  Frequently it is diagnosed with comorbid disorders such as social anxiety, specific phobia, or depression.

Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in addressing GAD and its comorbidities.  Many individuals will experience a significant decrease in the anxiety in as few as 16 weeks, and the frequency of worries may decrease that fast as well.