On this page, Beliefnet is publishing articles provided by Forest Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Lexapro. Forest Pharmaceuticals is solely responsible for this content.
Given the stresses of modern life, it is normal to experience occasional anxiety. However, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, suffer from persistent worry and tension that is much worse than the anxiety most people experience from time to time. The high level or chronic state of anxiety associated with GAD can make ordinary activities difficult or even impossible.
The main symptom of GAD is an exaggerated or unfounded state of worry and anxiety, often about such everyday matters as health, money, family, or work. Although people with GAD may realize that their anxiety is excessive or unwarranted, they are unable to simply "let it go." The mere thought of getting through the day can provoke anxiety.
The persistent worry characteristic of GAD is hard to control, and interferes with daily life. Many GAD sufferers seem unable to relax, and may startle easily. In addition, GAD is often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension.
GAD does not appear suddenly; it develops over time. The good news is GAD can be successfully treated. LEXAPRO® has been shown to effectively treat GAD, as well as depression1,2. For many patients, relief from GAD and/or depression symptoms may begin after taking LEXAPRO for 1 or 2 weeks, although it may take 4 to 6 weeks to feel the drug's full antidepressant/antianxiety effect. In addition, LEXAPRO has been proven to be well tolerated. In studies of patients taking 10 mg a day of LEXAPRO, the number of people who stopped taking LEXAPRO due to side effects was comparable to those who took placebo in the treatment of depression, and low in the treatment of GAD1,3,4.
*8% for Lexapro vs 4% for placebo in the comprehensive GAD safety database.
How to Tell if You May Have GAD
To be diagnosed with GAD you must have had anxiety more days than not for at least 6 months. The anxiety must also be associated with at least 3 of the following symptoms:
Symptoms will vary from person to person, and you don't need to have all the above symptoms in order to have GAD.
GAD can be difficult to diagnose. Some patients with GAD first decide to go to see their healthcare professional because of stress-related complaints such as headaches or problems sleeping.
Take Action Today With the Anxiety Self-Screener
If you think you might be suffering from anxiety, take the Anxiety Self-Screener. This simple quiz can help identify common symptoms of anxiety and their severity. Based on your results, you may want to make an appointment with a doctor or healthcare professional to discuss your answers. It's important to have your condition diagnosed properly. Remember, only a healthcare professional can diagnose GAD.
Depression and Anxiety Often Coexist
Depression is often accompanied by anxiety, and it is not uncommon for depressed people to also be diagnosed with GAD. Similarly, GAD occurs with or without depression. The symptoms of these disorders often overlap, and you may suffer from one, the other, or both. For more information, read about "depression with anxiety."
References: 1. Burke WJ, Gergel I, Bose A. Fixed-dosed trial of the single isomer SSRI escitalopram in depressed outpatients. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;63:331-336. 2. Data on file, Forest Laboratories, Inc. 3. Lexapro [package insert]. St Louis, MO: Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; 2005. 4. Goodman WK, Bose A, Wang Q. Escitalopram 10 mg/day is effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Poster presented at: 23rd Annual Conference of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America; March 27-30, 2003; Toronto, Canada.