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Standardized rating scales are used to diagnose GAD. The rating scales assess by severity. Mental health professionals use the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria to determine the extent of generalized anxiety disorder.

Criteria include the following, the occurrence of which is six months.

  • Excessive anxiety and worry
  • Difficult to control worry

Anxiety and worry are associated with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigued
  • Difficult concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance

The development of additional criteria is based upon the focus of the anxiety or worry; the symptoms; and the absence of drug abuse and/or medication.

Additional criteria is used and derived from the ICD-10. Some of the same list of symptoms is specific to DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria with additional references to the fact that GAD doesn’t meet the same criteria for panic disorder, phobic anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and hypochondriacal disorder.