What are common physical signs of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults and children?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Common physical signs of generalized anxiety disorder include tremor, tachycardia, tachypnea, sweaty palms, and restlessness. Typically, children and adults with generalized anxiety disorder also experience uncomfortable physical symptoms including rapid heartbeat, feeling short of breath, increased sweating, stomach cramping, a feeling of a lump in the throat or inability to swallow, frequent need to urinate, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, cold and/or clammy hands, headaches, or neck or backaches. A feeling of nervous tension is often accompanied by a feeling of shaking, trembling, twitching, or body aches. Often, children especially are not diagnosed or receive incorrect treatment and they may undergo unnecessary, invasive, or dangerous medical testing and inappropriate medication treatment for supposed presence of physical illnesses and, as a result, experience an increase in the intensity of fear and worry about their health status. [37, 38, 39]


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