The GAD 7 scale is a 7 item questionnaire used to analyze your anxiety levels; it is used as a primary care test for measuring the severity of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. GAD 7 works as a screener to assess people with GAD either by themselves or by Mental health professionals. So far, GAD-7 is the most reliable tool used to measure GAD symptoms accurately. Originally it was a 13 item scale developed based on the criteria given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental disorders. Then it is reduced to 7 by combining the correlated items.
Though the signs and symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder vary widely with every other person, GAD 7 seems to be the best and accurate psychometric scale to measure anxiety levels globally.
To understand how GAD 7 works, we share useful insights on Generalized Anxiety Disorder, commonly known as GAD. Anxiety is a vague apprehension to an intensely uncomfortable feeling similar to fear. It is the natural reaction of your body to stressful, dangerous, and unfamiliar situations. A certain level of anxiety helps us to stay alert and aware; it is important to maintain the normal harmony of our day-to-day activities and adapt to the environment. It is often the warning signal that alerts about the unconscious danger of your current mental health.
But people with anxiety disorders are completely different, their fears and worries are so constant, and that interferes with their cognitive functions, then they must be assessed for anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders often undergo struggles in even taking care of their daily chores, or significant distress impairs their functionality of life such as work, school, or relationships.
GAD is a common anxiety disorder that involves constant worrying and nervousness. The major difference between a phobia and GAD is, a phobia is related to a particular thing, but GAD is a more diffused one; it is a general feeling of fear and uneasiness towards everything in life.
D is as normal as any other person we meet everywhere around us, but the major difference we observe from them is that they take every simple worry to a new level. If someone speaks about the economic downfall due to pandemic, the person with GAD will vision about losing the job, or if someone discusses climate change issues, they will worry about the world's end.
Sometimes they just worry; they can’t even say what they worry about. They often feel something bad may happen, without having any reason to justify their fear.
The notable differences between “Normal worries” & "GAD" are:
Here is where a GAD 7 test comes to your rescue for making sure whether your worries are of normal anxiety-related ones or a therapy needed GAD worries.
Check your anxiety levels through the GAD 7 questionnaire.
A person’s not so good mental health is responsible for the significant morbidity and loss of productivity to some extent. Stress and anxiety are the two critical aspects when it comes to maintaining good mental health. Though they are not the same, to a certain degree, stress can cause anxiety- it is what you feel uneasy or worried about something.
The core feature of a GAD 7 questionnaire is ‘worry.’ Apart from this, it also measures various other symptoms like feeling on edge, easily irritable behavior, being restless, unable to relax, etc. So taking up a GAD 7 test will help you analyze the anxiety levels. The GAD 7 scoring, in turn, draws a clear picture of the current state of your mental health, which helps to keep the balance and mindfulness in day-to-day activities.
The GAD 7 questionnaire has a set of 7 basic assessment questions like,
With 4 response categories, “not at all,” “several days,” “more than half the days,” “nearly every day.” These response categories are designed based on how often the particular person has been bothered by that 7 symptoms related to anxiety.
The GAD 7 score is calculated by assigning 0,1,2,3 for each response category and adding them together for the 7 questions. The GAD 7 score of 5,10 and 15 are taken as the cut-off points for mild, moderate, and severe anxiety levels.
According to your GAD 7 score, the levels of anxiety comes under,
A GAD-7 score of 5 and under will diagnose you with mild anxiety levels. This is a type of anxiety we all go through in our day-to-day activities. You may come across this anxiety level while getting ready for your work on time, or working on a project nearing a deadline, or driving on a rough road thinking about the safety of your family. This is basically a good anxiety level that keeps you aware and alert under certain circumstances.
A GAD 7 score of 10 and around will detect a moderate anxiety level. This is more similar to mild anxiety, but you may become more severe and overwhelming, starting to feel agitated and nervous. People with moderate anxiety levels keep their complete attention on the performing task while ignoring everything else. This anxiety level leads to some physical symptoms of anxiety-like muscle tension, sweaty palms, back pain, and change in sleeping patterns.
GAD 7 score of 15 and above will signal you with severe anxiety levels and the need to consult a mental health professional and start treatment. This is the highest level of anxiety. You cannot stop your mind from worrying, feeling confused, and agitated all the time. You experience severe panic so often, and your breathing becomes so fast. This level definitely needs professional help and proper therapy to come out of it.
GAD 7 scale’s reliability and validity is the most discussed topic among mental health researchers around the world. It has been validated with many people in multiple nations and proved to have good reliability, factorial validity, and concurrent validity. Any psychometric assessment scale is evaluated with certain properties it has, like
GAD 7 produces a similar score compared with the other measures that are used to assess anxiety disorders. So it exhibits excellent internal consistency.
GAD 7 shows the same score for respondents even after a period of time when the traits have not been changed.
It means the extent to which a measure is related to the outcome. GAD 7 is proved to be one of the useful tools with strong criterion validity for identifying possible cases of GAD.
It basically means the degree to which two measures of constructs that theoretically should be related. Higher GAD 7 scores correlate with a disability and functional impairment.
Globally, 20% of the people are affected by one or other mental disorder yearly. The prevalence of anxiety disorders across the world varies from 2.5-7 percent by country; an estimated 284 million with anxiety disorder (source Our World in Data) people experienced an anxiety disorder in 2017, making it the most prevalent mental health or neurodevelopmental disorder. Anxiety disorders like GAD can significantly decrease your quality of life if not treated rightly at the right time. Your mental fitness is also as important as your physical fitness, so be aware of what you are going through before it affects your internal harmony.
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