Anxiety is part of our response to the environment around us. It is a normal and healthy emotion. But, when a person experiences too much anxiety, it may become a medical issue. The importance of anxiety screening becomes more apparent when your anxiety worsens. A person must be mindful of his condition. He must also keep in check how stress impacts his health.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety manifests as physical tension, anxious thoughts, and physiological shifts. In other words, anxiety is the fear of something terrible happening in the future. Tense muscles and avoiding situations cause this most of the time.
It is a typical stress response and, in some cases, can be helpful. It can alert us to threats and assist us in paying attention.
Yet, anxiety disorders differ from usual uneasiness to too much worry. There is a diagnosis when a person’s anxiety is out of proportion to the situation.
Anxiety problems trouble people at some point in their lives. It gets in the way of normal functioning. It also triggers or makes the symptoms worse. Hence, work, school, and personal relationships may suffer.
The good news is that there are treatments for anxiety disorders. With treatment, some people may enjoy productive lives. Thus, a person should take Anxiety Screening to receive early treatment.
What do you do in Anxiety Screening?
The first step is for you to consult a physician to rule out any physical cause for the symptoms. A mental health professional helps you find the best way to treat your anxiety disorder.
There are easy and accessible anxiety screenings out there. It is available through the internet or in your doctor’s office. Here are the general processes to follow.
- You will give some personal information to ensure that you receive appropriate screening.
- The anxiety screening will include questions about nine distinct types of anxiety disorders.
- Your results will be available to review, print, or email. These screenings alone cannot diagnose. The proper diagnosis requires more details about you from medical professionals.
Take note that the primary goal of online screening is to find out if you have an anxiety disorder. This kind of screening also looks for mood disorders and harmful drinking habits.
The goal of anxiety screening is to educate, not to make a clinical diagnosis. A trained mental health professional can only diagnose mental illnesses.
Remember that the purpose of the test results is to share them with your doctor. It gives details on diagnosis and treatment. Before making a final diagnosis, doing a complete evaluation is a must. These evaluations ensure that no other diseases could cause the symptoms.
What are the different tools for Anxiety Screening?
There are many screening tests for anxiety. Tests like these can help a person figure out what’s wrong. It also helps in determining how bad the anxiety is.
You can do these tests at home, but a mental health professional needs to look at them. Tools for checking for anxiety include:
Patient Health Questionnaire
PHQ-9 has nine items on the patient health questionnaire’s depression scale. Its basis is the nine criteria for major depressive disorder in the DSM-IV. The PHQ-9 can also be a screening tool that keeps track of a patient’s symptoms. It sees how well the patient is getting better due to treatment.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment
GAD-7 has seven questions that measure how bad a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is. The patient rates the intensity of his symptoms over the past two weeks. Responses include “never,” “many days,” “more than fifty percent of the days,” and “almost every day.”
Primary care patients, the general population, and GAD adolescents use this assessment. The patient can take the questionnaire at home. It only takes around 1-2 minutes to complete.
Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale
BFNE shows how a person tolerates public judgment. It sees how one reacts to the thought of poor treatment towards them. It also measures their fear of others judging them. This scale studies people’s general social behavior. It is a key diagnostic test for social phobia and other disorders.
Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale
HAM-A was one of the first scales to test anxiety symptoms. Mental health professionals still use it today. The 14-item scale rates both psychological and somatic anxiety. Each item ranges between 0 (not present) to 4 (severe), with a total score range of 0–56. Less than 17 indicates mild severity, 18–24 mild to moderate, and 25–30 moderate to severe.
Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale
LSAS is a self-rated scale with 24 items used to assess social anxiety in different scenarios. The scale measures social anxiety in research studies. It looks at a patient’s symptoms in a therapy setting. People that think they might have an anxiety problem can also take it.
Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale
OASIS is a quick, continuous evaluation of anxiety’s total severity and impairment. OASIS is applicable for anxiety disorders and multiple anxiety disorders. Anxiety symptoms below the threshold are also relevant to the scale. Many contexts and groups use this 5-item instrument.
Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale
HADS is a 14-question test where each question has a score. The scores range between 0 (no impairment) and 3 (severe impairment). Anxiety or depression can get the most score of 21.
Its purpose is to measure anxiety and depression in medical patients. The patient’s physical health should be minimal in the test scores.
Patient Health Questionnaire-4
PHQ-4 has four items scored on a four-point Likert-type scale. It bases on the first two questions of the “GAD 7” and the “PHQ-8”. This tool gives a quick and accurate way to measure anxiety and depression.
Penn State Worry Questionnaire
PSWQ is a 16-item self-report questionnaire measuring worry in adults. The scale checks extreme, broad, and unmanageable worry. PSWQ also discerns GAD from other anxiety disorders. Clinical and non-clinical contexts use this screening and diagnostic questionnaire.
Social Phobia Inventory
SPIN diagnoses and measures the degree of Social Anxiety Disorder. This test was released in the early 2000s. The social phobia tests did not look at the full range of acute physical symptoms at that time. And so, the Social Phobia Inventory aims to address this shortcoming.
This assessment was made through the efforts of Connor et al.; at Duke University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
What comes next?
Your symptoms play an important role in knowing if you have anxiety. Mental health experts use the DSM to identify anxiety based on symptoms. Aside from anxiety, they can also diagnose other mental diseases.
Your first goal if you have anxiety should not be to get rid of or cure your anxiety. Instead, learn how to manage it. Medication, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments can help control anxiety.
Your primary care physician will refer you to a psychiatrist for further evaluation. The psychiatrist can then give which anti-anxiety medications will work best for you. Medications will provide the desired results. So, you must follow the suggested treatment plan.
It is also a good idea to try going to therapy. It provides an environment for you to discuss your situation. You can join a support group if you are not comfortable with a solo discussion. It is where people can relate to what you are going through.
These practices can help you gain control of your worries. It can help you figure out what is causing them in the first place.
Last, find active methods of stress relief. These activities can lessen the effects of anxiety. You can try exercising, finding hobbies, keeping a journal, and socializing. Avoid alcohol and drugs because their side effects may worsen your condition.
Anxiety is not easy. It is not something that a series of blood tests can detect. It has different forms and can go with other illnesses. You can prevent anxiety from holding you back by working on getting control over it.
Even so, anxiety is as severe as any physical illness. Those who have it need help and support. Anxiety disorders can influence one’s well-being. So it’s crucial to perform an anxiety screening to know if your feelings are normal or a symptom.
There are online and in-person procedures that offer anxiety screenings. Do not wait for anyone before taking such tests. It is best to get the help you need, especially if you feel overwhelmed with your emotions.
The sooner you are aware of your anxiety, the faster you can treat and manage it. With managed anxiety, you can perform your daily activities with more ease.