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How Is Generalised Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed?

A clinical interview can lead to a diagnosis of GAD.

A diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder is usually reached through a clinical interview. The clinician will enquire on the symptoms of anxiety and the degree to which your life has been affected by the symptoms. An essential diagnostic feature of generalised anxiety disorder is “free-floating anxiety”, with prominent tension, worries and a feeling of apprehension that something bad will happen, about everyday events and problems. During the interview, the doctor will also screen for other common co-occurring mental disorders, such as depression, panic disorder, obsessive- compulsive disorder and hypochondriasis. Some blood tests may be ordered to exclude underlying physical causes that might have contributed to the feelings of anxiety, sometimes along with an electrocardiogram or urine tests to exclude underlying heart problems or substance abuse issues. Doctors may also recommend that you complete a validated screening instrument known as GAD-7 for baseline assessment and to monitor the treatment progress.⁵

⁵Spitzer, R.L., Kroenke, K., Williams, J.B. and Löwe, B., 2006. A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: the GAD-7. Archives of internal medicine166(10), pp.1092-1097.

Information provided by:

Dr Keith Hariman headshot

Dr Keith Hariman

Specialist in Psychiatry, OT&P Healthcare

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.

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