Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues, affecting over 40 million adults in the United States alone. Anxiety symptoms include excessive worrying, restless or on edge, muscle tension, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and panic attacks.
While we all experience anxious feelings occasionally, anxiety becomes a disorder when these feelings become excessive, last for longer than six months, and interfere with your ability to function normally. But how do you know if your anxiety has crossed the line from ordinary to disordered? Take this simple anxiety quiz to find out.
1. Do You Experience Excessive Worrying?
Excessive worrying about various events and activities is one of the hallmark symptoms of anxiety disorders. Those with anxiety tend to worry persistently about everyday issues like work, relationships, health, finances, and minor things like being late for an appointment.
- If you find yourself worrying excessively about multiple topics daily, answer yes.
- If you only worry occasionally about significant issues, answer no.
2. Do You Have Trouble Controlling Your Worrying?
Those with anxiety often feel like their worrying is uncontrollable, even if they know it is excessive and unrealistic. The worrying persists despite efforts to stop it.
- If you have difficulty controlling worrying once it starts, answer yes.
- If you can readily redirect worrying thoughts, answer no.
3. Do You Experience Restlessness or Feeling on Edge?
Anxiety often manifests physically with sensations of restlessness, feeling keyed up, or feeling on edge. You may have difficulty relaxing or trouble sitting still. Activities you once enjoyed now make you feel restless.
- If you experience chronic restlessness or feeling on edge, answer yes.
- If you can relax when you want to, answer no.
4. Do You Experience Irritability?
The persistent state of worry, panic, and hyperarousal caused by anxiety can make individuals irritable. You may snap at loved ones, get impatient quickly, or have a short fuse.
- If you have frequent feelings of irritability, answer yes.
- If you rarely feel irritable, answer no.
5. Do You Have Difficulty Concentrating?
Anxious thoughts can be distracting, making it hard to concentrate or focus at work or school. Completing tasks takes longer because your mind feels foggy or jumbled.
- If you struggle with concentration issues, answer yes.
- If you can concentrate without difficulty, answer no.
6. Do You Experience Sleep Problems?
Excessive worrying and feeling on edge make it hard to get a whole night’s rest. Anxiety commonly leads to trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep. You may toss, turn, and wake up tired.
- If you regularly experience sleep problems, answer yes.
- If you sleep soundly through the night, answer no.
7. Do You Experience Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks involve sudden intense bouts of fear and physical symptoms like a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, or sweatiness. Attacks peak within 10 minutes.
- If you have experienced unexpected panic attacks before, answer yes.
- If you have never had a panic attack, answer no.
8. Do You Avoid Certain Situations or Places?
Those with anxiety disorders often avoid places, events, or activities because they trigger anxious thoughts. For example, someone with social anxiety may avoid parties, work presentations, or talking to strangers.
- If you avoid certain situations or places, answer yes.
- If you do not avoid problems, respond no.
9. Have Your Symptoms Lasted Several Months or Longer?
For a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, symptoms must persist for at least six months. This helps differentiate normal anxiety from excessive, disordered pressure.
- If your symptoms have persisted for six months or longer, answer yes.
- If your symptoms are newer or intermittent, reply no.
10. Do Your Symptoms Interfere with Your Life?
Disordered anxiety must interfere with significant areas of functioning, such as work performance, social life, or relationships. You may avoid pursuing goals or neglect responsibilities.
- If your symptoms interfere with your daily life, answer yes.
- If your symptoms do not cause impairment, respond no.
Scoring Your Anxiety Quiz
Tally up the number of “yes” responses.
- 0-2 yeses: You likely do not meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. The worrying and anxiety you experience is within normal limits.
- 3-5 yeses: You may have mild or moderate anxiety. Your anxiety symptoms may wax and wane but are manageable most of the time. Consider stress management.
- 6-8 yeses: You likely have an anxiety disorder. Your anxiety is excessive, persistent, and interfering with your life. Seek help from a mental health professional.
- 9-10 yeses: You very likely have a severe anxiety disorder. Your anxiety is extremely limiting your functioning. Seek help immediately.
When to Seek Help for Anxiety
If your anxiety symptoms are persistent and interfere with your life, make an appointment with your healthcare provider or a mental health professional. Many effective treatments for anxiety exist, including therapy, medication, or alternative treatments like meditation.
With professional help, you can learn to manage anxiety symptoms and regain control of your life. Living with untreated anxiety is unnecessary suffering. You deserve to feel better.
Anxiety Treatment Options
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you change negative thoughts and behaviors perpetuating anxiety.
- Exposure therapy gradually exposes you to feared situations, so you become desensitized to them.
- Mindfulness-based therapies like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing teach you to manage anxiety through awareness of the present moment.
- Medications like SSRIs, SNRIs, and benzodiazepines can help relieve anxiety symptoms.
- Support groups let you share experiences and advice for coping with anxiety disorder.
Coping Strategies for Anxiety Relief
Alongside professional treatment, you can implement self-help strategies to find relief from anxiety symptoms, including:
- Establishing a consistent sleep routine
- Avoiding caffeine
- Exercising regularly
- Practicing relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation
- Challenging negative automatic thoughts through CBT exercises
- Spending time with supportive family and friends
- Engaging in enjoyable hobbies and activities
- Avoiding avoidance by gradually facing feared situations
- Limiting news consumption if it triggers anxiety
- Maintaining a sense of humor and being gentle with yourself
When to Seek Emergency Help for Anxiety
If you experience any of the following, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Intense chest pain or difficulty breathing
- Derealization (feeling detached from reality)
- Debilitating panic attacks
- Hyperventilation for 10+ minutes
- Excessive vomiting, diarrhea, or trembling
- Feeling like you are losing control
Severe anxiety symptoms can indicate a panic or anxiety attack requiring emergency intervention. Call 911 or go to your nearest ER.
Frequently Asked Questions About Anxiety
What causes anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders have no single cause. Contributing factors include genetics, brain chemistry, personality traits, trauma history, and stressful life circumstances. Often, multiple elements combine to produce anxiety.
Can anxiety kill you?
No, anxiety itself cannot directly cause death or physical harm. But chronic stress can increase your risk for stress-related medical conditions like high blood pressure, ulcers, and heart disease. Severe anxiety untreated over many years may shorten lifespan.
Can anxiety cause hallucinations?
Hallucinations are very rare in anxiety. More common are visual illusions like seeing movement in your peripheral vision. Intense fear can also cause derealization – feeling the world is not accurate. But true hallucinations only occur in severe cases.
Is anxiety considered a disability?
Severe anxiety disorders like panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, and OCD can qualify as a disability if they substantially limit major life activities like working, learning, communicating, or caring for oneself.
Can you develop anxiety later in life?
You can develop anxiety disorders for the first time in adulthood or later in life. Stressful life events like divorce, unemployment, trauma, or illness often trigger the first onset of anxiety in adults over 30. Treatment can still help.
Living with anxiety is difficult, but help is available. If you recognize your anxiety symptoms in this quiz, consider talking to your doctor or a mental health provider. With targeted treatment, most people with anxiety can manage their symptoms, prevent panic attacks, and regain control. Relief from stress is within your reach.