A generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems. People with GAD may visit a doctor many times before they find out they have this disorder. They ask their doctors to help them with headaches or trouble falling asleep, which can be symptoms of GAD, and it may take doctors some time to be sure that a person has GAD instead of something else.
An established questionnaire often used to screen for GAD is the GAD-7. 10 The GAD-7 is shown in the table below. As with depression, it is important to recognise the limitations of these screening tools. When players report symptoms of GAD, it is important to then follow up with a clinical assessment. The GAD questionnaire is shown in the table below.
A sum score is calculated, and scores of 5, 10, and 15 are taken as the cut-off points for mild, moderate and severe anxiety, respectively. When used as a screening tool, further evaluation is recommended when the score is 10 or greater.
People with GAD have significant difficulty managing their concerns. This is despite them often having good insight (they usually realise that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants). Players often are unable to relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. They frequently have trouble initiating sleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms are also quite common. Players will often complain of fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, light-headedness or feeling out of breath.