What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Could it be that a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) that the co-pilot may have suffered, was responsible for the plane crash of the Germanwings company?

“… episode of major depression” “… detect psychological profiles” “… the co-pilot suffered from a generalized anxiety disorder”
Phrases and expressions like these, could be read in news and headlines that about the plane crash of the Germanwings company, have covered the media all over the world.

Without going into this moment to evaluate in depth the way in which terms related to Psychology and the disorders that our science treats have been used, and beyond the fact that the information is contrasted or not, sensationalist or simply incomplete, what matters to us health professionals is to clarify any information that could suppose concern or disorientation for society.

It is being said that the co-pilot of the plane had a Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and it may be true, but of course, that is not the cause of what happened.

Many of the patients in our Centre who have heard the news and who have been given this diagnosis, call with more or less perplexity and concern, asking for information and clarification: what I have is serious, could I want to commit suicide, can I harm others?

If we bear in mind that anxiety is one of the most common problems in psychology consultations, I am obliged to state categorically that a GAD does not cause this damage.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
A Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a problem that goes through with anxiety and concern for at least 6 months; that concern is given by a wide range of events, you worry about your health or your family, your future, that you may have economic problems, etc.. On many occasions this concern overwhelms and produces sadness and in some cases depression, but does not involve any harm to others.

Anxiety problems are among the most prevalent or common in our society, specifically the GAD is suffered by about 5% of the population, are frequent but certainly not dangerous, neither for oneself nor for others.

What happened in the plane crash of the Germanwings company, and more specifically to its co-pilot, we will know when they collect and study all the data, but of course if the cause is a psychological disorder, there would undoubtedly be another pathology in addition to a problem of anxiety, and I insist, to reassure and clarify the doubts, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder definitely can not be the cause of an event like this.

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