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I'm going to speak to you today about cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic worry.
I'm Robert Leahy, I'm the Director of
the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City,
and I'm Clinical Professor of Psychology in
the psychiatry department at Weill Cornell Medical College.
I'm going to describe some of the research on the nature of worry,
the theories about chronic worry,
and the treatment of worry from a variety of perspectives in cognitive behavior therapy.
What is generalized anxiety disorder?
According to the DSM-V,
generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by
excessive anxiety and worry (or apprehensive expectation).
This worry and anxiety occurs more days than not for at least six months,
so it's a chronic ongoing condition
not just a person who is worried for a couple of days.
Second, the worry is about a number of different events or activities,
such as work or school performance or health, or money or relationships.
The worry is not just about one topic, it's on a number of different topics.
According to the DSM, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is associated
with three or more of the following six symptoms.
First, restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
Second, being easily fatigued.
Third, having difficulty concentrating or one's mind going blank.
Fourth, feeling irritable.
Fifth, muscle tension.
Six, sleep disturbance - that can be difficulty falling asleep,
staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep.