- 6 months of excessive anxiety and worry about various situations
- Difficulty controlling the anxiety, e.g., cannot relax or cope
- Shows at least 3 of these symptoms most days: restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleeping difficulties
- Symptoms cannot be described by another mental disorder. For example, if I only get excessively anxious in or at the thought of social situations, that's described by my social phobia/AvPD and I cannot be diagnosed with GAD.
- The symptoms must impair the person's daily functions or cause significant distress
- Cannot be due to a medical issue or substance use
Poverty is a source of much stress for those living in it. My mom raised me on $10,000 a year or less. We moved a lot, which was more often than not because of her abusive relationship with my dad, and often had trouble buying food once food stamps ran out. My mom, like me, suffers from generalized anxiety disorder. She also suffers from panic disorder and PTSD among others. Unfortunately mental illness runs in my family, but for others this study may be a bit of good news. Being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder is still taboo. Because the criteria are so broad for disorders such as GAD, people who are just suffering from anxiety due to circumstances they can't control are getting lumped with those who actually suffer from an illness. This needs to be studied further and addressed in order to make sure that these diagnoses are valid.
This topic still needs to be researched further. It's a little bit tricky because obviously some of those people living in poverty do suffer from a mental illness, and their anxiety is not just due to circumstance. This is however an interesting finding in the ever expanding world of psychology.
If you're interested in reading the original press release from Rutgers, click here.
What do you think are the implications of this study? How do you think this will affect the way that mental health professionals diagnose and treat those who suffer from anxiety? Leave a comment or email me at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you.