NBA Rookie Royce White Puts Focus on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Starting a career with the National Basketball Association is a dream come true for rookie Royce White. According to the 21-year-old forward for the Houston Rockets, it’s also a “day-by-day struggle” due to his generalized anxiety disorder.

Royce White’s disorder is manifested by flying phobia, panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. White missed the Rockets’ training camp because of his fear of flying and is unsure how he will make it to all of the team’s out-of-town games.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a mental health disorder that is characterized by a pattern of constant anxiety and worry over many different issues and events. Although everyone is subject to worry, individuals affected by GAD are often unable to carry on with day-too-day activities because of ongoing anxiety. Their worry persists even when there is no apparent cause.

Additional symptoms of GAD included:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restless sleep and insomnia
  • Muscle tension and aches
  • Shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat
  • General restlessness when awake

Many people with GAD are aware that their worry is unfounded, but they are unable to control it. The exact causes of GAD are unknown, but genetics and childhood trauma are thought to play a role. A single momentous event or several stressful situations can trigger excessive anxiety that becomes generalized. Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with GAD.

The condition can develop in both children and adults. For children, anxiety may center on school or sports performance or may be related to a fear of floods, earthquakes, nuclear war or other catastrophic events. In addition to the symptoms listed above, a child with GAD may be a perfectionist, feel the need for constant approval and require excessive reassurance about their abilities.

Using His Struggle To Raise Awareness and Benefit Others

Royce White has been open about his condition because he wants to raise awareness about anxiety disorder and other types of mental illness. Anyone who feels that excessive worry is impacting work, relationships and other areas of their life should seek professional help. When GAD is left untreated, some people become depressed, begin abusing alcohol or drugs, or develop other mental health problems. Individuals who are having suicidal thoughts should seek help immediately.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the best treatment for generalized anxiety disorder is a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Therapy helps people suffering from GAD understand their feelings and gain control over them. The goal of the therapy is to train the mind to stop thinking that minor worries will develop into catastrophes.