Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by unrealistic or excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) about two or more life circumstances, for a period of six months or longer, during which the person has been bothered more days than not by these concerns. At least 6 of the following 18 symptoms are often present in these patients:
Motor Tension: Trembling, twitching, or feeling shaky; muscle tension, aches, or soreness; restlessness; easy fatigability.
Autonomic Hyperactivity: Shortness of breath or smothering sensations; palpitations or accelerated heart rate; sweating, or cold clammy hands; dry mouth; dizziness or lightheadedness; nausea, diarrhea, or other abdominal distress; flushes or chills; frequent urination; trouble swallowing or 'lump in throat').
Vigilance and Scanning: Feeling keyed up or on edge; exaggerated startle response; difficulty concentrating or 'mind going blank' because of anxiety; trouble falling or staying asleep; irritability.
These symptoms must not be secondary to another psychiatric disorder or caused by some organic factor.