Anxiety screening is a process used to identify people who may have an anxiety disorder. For example, a person may take an online or written test that is meant to reveal whether he has one or more of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. To get a definite diagnosis, however, an individual should see a qualified mental health professional.
One type of anxiety screening test identifies people who may have a general anxiety disorder. This type of disorder is marked by chronic anxious feelings and exaggerated tension, especially when there’s no reason for the anxiety. An individual with general anxiety disorder may also develop physical symptoms. For example, he may feel fatigued, nauseous, and irritable when worried. His anxiety may be accompanied by twitching, trembling, sweating, head and muscles aches, and hot flashes.
A general anxiety disorder screening test may include questions designed to learn whether a person has symptoms of this disorder. For example, such a test may ask whether a person worries over half the time, has trouble controlling his worries, or has endured persistent worry for six months or more. It may also ask about physical symptoms, such as becoming tired very easily or having tense muscles.
Some anxiety screening tests screen people for panic disorders. When a person has a panic disorder, he typically has repeated periods of feeling intense fear or anxiety. These episodes often begin without warning and are accompanied by frightening physical symptoms, such as chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Some people also feel either very hot or very cold while in the throes of a panic attack.
An anxiety screening test may provide questions that help a person determine whether he has experienced panic attacks. For example, the test may ask whether the person has felt he was dying or experienced a feeling of impending doom that was accompanied by a rapid or pounding heartbeat, sweating, or shaking. It may also ask whether the test taker has felt out of control, dizzy, nauseous, or out of breath when he was not ill.
If a person takes an anxiety test and has a significant number of symptoms of an anxiety disorder, he may do well to discuss the results of the test with his doctor. His doctor may provide diagnosis and treatment or refer him to a mental health professional for evaluation. Since no online or written test can effectively diagnose an anxiety disorder, those who use these screenings should not consider them proof of any type of condition.