Using An Anxiety Test To Decide If It's Time To Seek Professional Help

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated April 5, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder, affecting around 30% of adults at some point in their lives. There are various types of mental disorders, each of which has distinct symptoms, but most include some form of persistent and/or distressing feelings of worry that negatively impact daily life and functioning. 

Since some amount of anxiety is a normal and expected part of the human experience, it can be hard to tell sometimes whether what you’re feeling falls under this category or if it could be a clinical anxiety disorder – or a related condition like depression. Anxiety can only be diagnosed by a qualified mental health professional, but there are methods you can use to help yourself decide whether it might be time to enlist their support. Taking an anxiety quiz online is one of them.

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Suspect you may have an anxiety disorder?

What is an online anxiety test?

There are various types of anxiety quizzes out there that you can take for free online. They’re typically virtual questionnaires that ask you how often, if ever, you experience certain symptoms and how much they impact your life. For example, you might be asked about how often you feel overwhelmed by stress, especially at home, work, or school. When you’ve finished, your answers will either point toward symptoms of an anxiety disorder or not.

These quizzes aren't diagnostic tools, nor are they a substitute for professional medical advice. Plus, there are many different types of anxiety – from social anxiety to test anxiety to generalized anxiety. All an anxiety test can do is give you an idea of whether your symptoms might match up with those of a mental health condition so you can feel more confident in seeking the right treatment options.
Popular types of anxiety quizzes
The type of anxiety test you may want to take depends on the symptoms you’re experiencing. Below, we’ll give an overview of three popular types of quizzes designed for people who suspect they may have generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, or panic disorder, respectively.
The generalized anxiety disorder quiz
The GAD-7 is a simple, seven-question quiz designed to provide a brief measure of whether you may be experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). You can find interactive versions of it online, or you can read the instructions, questions, and scoring information below and take it yourself now.

Here’s how the test works for assessing GAD: For each of the following symptoms, choose a number that best describes how often you’ve experienced it within the past two weeks. Zero means not at all, one means several days, two means more than half of the time, and three means every day or almost every day:

  • Feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge
  • Being unable to stop worrying or losing control
  • Worrying too much about different things
  • Finding it hard or impossible to relax
  • Having trouble sitting still because you’re so restless
  • Getting easily annoyed or irritated
  • Feeling afraid that something terrible might happen
Next, add up the numbers for all of the above symptoms. The total will give you some idea of how severe your anxiety might be. A score of under four suggests mild anxiety symptoms, between five and nine is moderate, between 10 and 14 is moderately severe, and 15 and up is severe. The creators of this assessment found that 89% of individuals who ended up being professionally diagnosed with GAD scored a 10 or higher, while 82% of those who did not meet diagnostic criteria had scores below 10. If your total was around nine or above, it may be a good idea to consult a mental health professional as a next step.

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The social anxiety disorder quiz
Though GAD is what most people are referring to when they talk about being “diagnosed with anxiety”, the American Psychiatric Association also recognizes several other anxiety disorders. One of these is social anxiety disorder, sometimes shortened to SAD. As you can probably guess, it’s marked by severe feelings of anxiety related to social interaction, often linked to a fear of being watched, judged, or humiliated by others.

Here’s a quiz based on the clinical description of SAD, which could give you some idea of whether you might be experiencing symptoms of this condition based on the following problems.
  • Do you often have serious fear or anxiety about scenarios in which other people might observe or evaluate you? Possible examples include gatherings of friends or family, public performances, or eating/drinking in public.
  • If you answered YES to the above: Are you afraid you’ll act in a way that will embarrass you or cause others to view you negatively?
  • If you answered YES to the above: Does encountering this type of situation almost always lead to fear or anxiety?
  • If you answered YES to the above: Do you think your fear is out of proportion to the actual risk of social consequences?
  • If you answered YES to the above: Do you try to avoid these situations—or if you go, do you feel severe anxiety the whole time?
  • If you answered YES to the above: Does this fear cause you significant distress, or is it causing negative consequences in important areas of your life? For example, is it damaging your career or your relationship?
  • If you answered YES to the above: Has this been going on for six months or more?
If you’ve answered yes to all or most of the questions above, you might want to consult a mental health professional to see if you might have social anxiety disorder.
Panic disorder quizzes
Another type of anxiety disorder is panic disorder, which involves panic attacks that cause significant disruption to your physical health or mental well-being—often accompanied by a debilitating fear of having them. Symptoms of a panic attack can vary somewhat from person to person, but they typically manifest as intense anxiety that comes on suddenly and feels all-consuming. Symptoms of a panic attack can include things like disorientation, shaking, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and trouble breathing. 

The first part of a panic disorder quiz will typically ask if you've ever experienced a panic attack characterized by several or more of these symptoms. The second part will usually ask if you fear having another and if that fear has a significant negative impact on your life and functioning. If the answer to one or both is yes, you may want to meet with a mental health professional to address your symptoms.

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Suspect you may have an anxiety disorder?
What to do after taking an anxiety quiz
What prompted you to take an anxiety test today? Was it purely for curiosity, or were you genuinely worried about your health and well-being? If you were concerned enough about your anxiety to consult an online resource, that alone could be an indicator that it’s time to speak with a qualified mental health professional.

After all, many of the questions on the assessments above have to do with your subjective level of distress about your symptoms of anxiety. The difference between typical feelings of anxiety and a clinical diagnosis could come down to the impact your worries are having on your life. If you’re concerned about the severity of your anxiety, you may not need a quiz to tell you that it’s likely time to seek support.

Clinical studies indicate that detecting mental health challenges early can be linked with better outcomes in the long run. In other words, you may be better off beginning the evaluation and/or treatment process now instead of waiting and risking worsening symptoms. Even if it turns out that you don’t meet the criteria for diagnosis, a mental health professional can help determine the most appropriate strategies for managing your thoughts and emotions in the future so that they cause you less distress.

Seeking therapy for anxiety support
Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety disorders. One large-scale meta-analysis suggests that therapy works as well as medication and is associated with less patient dropout, perhaps because it comes with fewer side effects. Current clinical guidelines suggest that therapy should be considered a first-line treatment for anxiety.

It may be hard or intimidating for some people with anxiety to speak with a therapist, particularly if they have persistent fears about social situations, authority figures, or medical settings. If you’re feeling hesitant about seeking treatment, you might want to try online therapy. With a virtual therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with from home via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging, which might feel more comfortable than attending in-office sessions. Research suggests that online and in-person therapy can promote “equivalent overall effects” in individuals with anxiety, so you can feel confident in whichever method of contact feels right for you.

Takeaway

An anxiety test isn’t intended to be a replacement for a diagnostic assessment by a licensed mental health provider, but it may offer some useful insights into your mental state. Remember that you may not need a formal diagnosis to benefit from therapy if worry and fear are interfering with your life.
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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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