Do I have Anxiety: (Test to look for Anxiety Symptoms)

In this brief guide, we will look at the question “Do I have Anxiety”, and test some anxiety symptoms. We will also look at types of anxiety disorders and anxiety treatment.

Do I have Anxiety?: Test to check your Symptoms

To know if you have anxiety, you can take this quick test given below which is based on the DSM 5 criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the commonly used tool to measure anxiety called Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale.

To assess your symptoms, just read through the statements given below and score 2 for agree strongly, 1 for agree, and 0 for do not agree, based on how much you have experienced the symptoms in the past 2 weeks. Tally the scores at the end and compare your scores to the cut-offs.

  1. Have you felt moments of fear, terror or worry that consumed you?
  2. Do you find yourself worrying about things that you can’t really pinpoint?
  3. Do you constantly feel on edge and nervous like something bad is going to happen?
  4. Do you have stomach problems constantly?
  5. Do you find it hard to breathe when you get very worried?
  6. Do you have a choking sensation when you try not to think about what is worrying you?
  7. Have you left situations earlier than you had to because you were worried?
  8. Do you put off making decisions because you are worried?
  9. Do you feel nauseous often?
  10. Do you ever have dizziness or palpitations?
  11. Do you sweat too much in certain situations?
  12. Do you get startled easily?
  13. Do you feel like your body is constantly tense?
  14. Have you noticed a change in your thinking capacity or memory?
  15. Doyou ever experience dry mouth or get frequent headaches that get worse when you think about something that worries you?
  16. Do you feel that you have become fidgety and keep moving all the time?
  17. Do you find that your mood is always somewhat low and you can’t really concentrate on the good stuff anymore?

Here are the cut-offs:

  • 30 or above: Severe anxiety
  • 20 to 30: Moderate Anxiety
  • 10 to 20: Mild Anxiety
  • Below 10: No anxiety

According to whatever scores you received, you may be able to pinpoint if you have anxiety symptoms, but you need to bear in mind that these scores are merely for personal knowledge, and not for a diagnostic purpose, as such, you cannot consider them to be a diagnosis of anxiety.

Additionally, if you got a score of no anxiety but you agreed with the somatic symptoms, you need to see a doctor because these symptoms may be because of an underlying physical disorder.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

According to both ICD 10 and DSM 5, the types of anxiety disorders are as follows:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder (Panic Attacks)
  • Phobias
  • Agoraphobia
  • Acute stress reactions
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Mixed Anxiety and Depression Disorder

Most commonly mean generalized anxiety disorder when they say anxiety, so the signs and symptoms of this anxiety disorder are given in the next section.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by feelings of free-floating anxiety that has no cause, worry, tension, nausea, palpitations and other somatic symptoms related to abnormal arousal.

This form of anxiety is characterized by the presence of worry and general anxiety that seems to have no apparent cause and is free-floating in a way that its end and beginning is hardly noticeable.

The DSM 5 criteria for anxiety disorder is given below:

“Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).

The individual finds it difficult to control the worry.

The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms having been present for more days than not for the past 6 months):

Note: Only one item is required for children.

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep).

The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).

The disturbance is not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., anxiety or worry about having panic attacks in panic disorder, negative evaluation in social anxiety disorder (social phobia], contamination or other obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation from attachment figures in separation anxiety disorder, reminders of traumatic events in posttraumatic stress disorder, gaining weight in anorexia nervosa, physical complaints in somatic symptom disorder, perceived appearance flaws in body dysmorphic disorder, having a serious illness in illness anxiety disorder, or the content of delusional beliefs in schizophrenia or delusional disorder).”

Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks usually refer to panic attacks, which are specific fits or phases of extreme anxiety that results in breathing problems like rapid breathing, palpitations, a fear or feeling of flying or everything going wrong, and other somatic symptoms like sweating and dizziness.

Panic attacks are characterized by the lack of anxiety between attacks, except for anticipatory anxiety about the next possible attack, and the person may live a relatively normal life between attacks.

Sometimes there may be a cause for the attacks but usually they happen independently.

The DSM 5 criteria for Panic Disorder is given as follows:

“Recurrent unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is an abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes, and during which time four (or more) of the following symptoms occur:

Note: The abrupt surge can occur from a calm state or an anxious state.

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate.
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering.
  • Feelings of choking.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Nausea or abdominal distress.
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chills or heat sensations.
  • Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations).
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself).
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy.”
  • Fear of dying.”

“Note: Culture-specific symptoms (e.g., tinnitus, neck soreness, headache, uncontrollable screaming or crying) may be seen. Such symptoms should not count as one of the four required symptoms.

At least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one or both of the following:

Persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, “going crazy”).

A significant maladaptive change in behavior related to the attacks (e.g., behaviors designed to avoid having panic attacks, such as avoidance of exercise or unfamiliar situations).

The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism, cardiopulmonary disorders).

The disturbance is not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., the panic attacks do not occur only in response to feared social situations, as in social anxiety disorder; in response to circumscribed phobic objects or situations, as in specific phobia; in response to obsessions, as in obsessive-compulsive disorder; in response to reminders of traumatic events, as in posttraumatic stress disorder; or in response to separation from attachment figures, as in separation anxiety disorder).”

Anxiety Treatment

The anxiety treatment usually involves a combination of methods, and it may involve anti anxiety medication with therapy like relaxation or cognitive behavior therapy or behavior therapy.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is not usually indicated for anxiety disorder, unless there are specific things causing anxiety that need to be fixed with this type of therapy.

Supportive psychotherapy is used either alone, when anxiety is mild, or in combination with drug therapy and a good therapist-patient relationship is often the first step in psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. 

Recently, there has been an increasing use of CBT in the management of anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorders (with or without agoraphobia) and CBT can be used either alone or in conjunction with SSRIs (antidepressants).

In patients with mild to moderate anxiety, relaxation techniques are very useful and they may be used by the patient himself as a routine exercise every day and also whenever an anxiety-provoking situation is at hand.

These techniques include Jacobson’s progressive relaxation technique, yoga, pranayama, self-hypnosis, and meditation (including TM or transcendental meditation).

The behavior therapies for anxiety disorder include biofeedback and hyperventilation control. 

Medications for generalized anxiety and panic may be benzodiazepines, and for panic disorder, antidepressants. It is usually useful to begin the treatment of panic disorders with small doses of antidepressants, usually SSRIs

(e.g. fluoxetine).

Benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam and clonazepam) are useful in short-term treatment of both generalized anxiety and panic disorders. However, tolerance and dependence potential limit the use of these drugs. 

Several antidepressants (such as sertraline) are also licensed for treatment of anxiety and panic disorders now.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at the question “Do I have Anxiety”, and a test for anxiety symptoms. We also looked at types of anxiety disorders and anxiety treatment.

Anxiety can be difficult to understand when you are suffering from it, and often one may feel like they are not experiencing something mental, but physical, given how the somatic symptoms or anxiety feel.

Anxiety is a debilitating problem and one needs to seek the appropriate treatment for it, else it just gets worse over time.

If you have any questions like “Do I have anxiety?” or want to see more tests for anxiety, please let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Do I have Anxiety Test

Can you self diagnose anxiety?

NO, you cannot self-diagnose anxiety, because even though you may have the symptoms, anxiety symptoms can often look like symptoms of a medical illness as well, which is why you need to see a mental health professional for the diagnosis. 

An accurate diagnosis of anxiety is made through clinical evaluation and the commonly available self-tests are for personal use only, to get a better understanding of the situation.

How do I know if I suffer from anxiety?

To know if you suffer from anxiety you need to ask yourself if you have any of the symptoms of anxiety like excessive and intrusive worrying that disrupts functioning or if you frequently feel agitated, restless, fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, irritability, tense muscles and trouble sleeping.

Is test anxiety a thing?

Yes, test anxiety is a thing, and it is a very legitimate disorder that affects many students.

In test anxiety, the person may experience extreme distress and anxiety in testing situations, and they may experience a great deal of associated stress every time they try to study. 

Test situations usually elicit some stress and anxiety from everyone, but in case of people who have test anxiety can actually impair learning and hurt test performance.

What is the first sign of anxiety?

The first sign of anxiety is usually feeling nervous, restless or tense, and some people who have just started feeling anxious may also have a sense of impending danger, panic or doom. 

One of the other first signs of anxiety is also having an increased heart rate.

Citations

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5)

International Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders (ICD 10)

https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/educational-resources/assessment-measures

Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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