What Can I Learn From A Depression, Stress, And Anxiety Test?

Updated November 8, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

There are many reasons to consider taking a test to measure symptoms of anxiety, stress, or depression. You may be unsure about whether your symptoms are serious, or you would like a formal diagnosis. Depending upon your symptoms, the severity of symptoms, as well as the cluster of symptoms you have, you may be attempting to cope with or treat your symptoms in a manner that is counterproductive. 

For example, a person with a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder may have some overlapping symptoms with post-traumatic stress disorder, such as poor appetite or difficulty with being in certain social situations, just as an individual with major depressive disorder might have some overlapping symptoms of an individual with bipolar disorder type II, such as experiencing major depression or consistently feeling tired, having little interest in previously enjoyed activities, periods of little energy, and so on.

However, each diagnosis (whether anxiety, stress, or depression) may be treated using different techniques, medication, and treatment modalities. This is one reason why it can be important to have an accurate understanding of symptoms and an accurate diagnosis. Obtaining a diagnosis involves more than simply taking a test. A formal diagnosis can only be provided by a licensed counselor, psychiatrist, or doctor.

Think You May Be Experiencing Depression Or Anxiety?

Purpose Of Online Depression, Stress, And Anxiety Screening Tests

There are several free online tests for anxiety, stress, and depression, but these tests should only be considered screening tools and may not provide accurate diagnoses. It is recommended that many of these tests be completed with your mental health provider. There are several different tests available online. 

One such free test is called the DASS test, which is used to measure the negative emotional states of depression, anxiety, and stress. The DASS tests consist of 42 questions, where answers are provided on a continuum of agreement or disagreement. The test can be administered by non-psychologists. 

Another test that specifically measures anxiety is the GAD-7 test, which has been a screening tool for the most common diagnosis: Generalized anxiety disorder. The PHQ-9 test has been designed to measure depressive symptoms.

Another online mental health test by depression-anxiety-stress-test.org specifically measures depression, stress, and anxiety is made up of 42 questions and rates symptoms on a scale from normal to severe. The questions are answered in terms of how severely you have experienced each symptom over the past week.

The SPIN test is made up of 17 questions and measures social anxiety. The organization Mental Health America also provides screening tools for depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, psychosis, eating disorders, addiction, and parenting.

Pfizer, Inc. also has its own free mental health test available to the public. They offer the PHQ-9 questionnaire, a tried-and-true test with nearly a decade of use by clinicians and researchers that is federally sponsored to measure depression symptoms and severity. They also utilize the GAD-7 questionnaire, which is also tried-and-true by clinicians and researchers alike, to assess anxiety symptoms and severity regarding generalized anxiety disorder.

Many online psychological tests are typically comprised of questions that explore your current feelings, outlook, physical symptoms, and responses to life's stressors. On most of these tests, your answers will be on a continuum indicating how strongly you agree or disagree with a statement. Most of these tests include a scoring chart or calculate your test scores automatically. If there is a scoring chart, the website will instruct you on how to calculate the overall score. Again, while online tests can be a good tool for screening purposes, only a therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor can provide you with a formal diagnosis.

What Is Formal Psychological Testing?

If you have struggled to find an accurate diagnosis, have not seen a reduction in symptoms after at least 6-8 weeks of counseling, or are having trouble functioning, you might consider undergoing psychological testing or assessment. 

Licensed psychologists are thoroughly trained to administer tests and use both tests and assessments to provide an accurate diagnosis and implement a treatment plan.

Many psychological tests are not made available to the general public and can only be administered by individuals who meet specific educational and professional qualifications. These tests have been developed as a standard and are norm-referenced, which means that they have been evaluated by researchers and are both valid and reliable for measuring a trait or identifying a disorder. 

A psychologist will also typically gather information in addition to testing, such as interviews, medical records, psychiatric or medical evaluations, and clinical interviews. When psychologists administer tests, they usually select different types of assessments and tests for each individual client in order to consider the appropriate diagnosis.

A test administered by a psychologist might be appropriate if you are having trouble concentrating or functioning in school or work, think you may have a learning disability, emotional or behavioral problems. Counselors, social workers, medical doctors, or government employees may provide referrals for psychological testing. One does not need to prepare for psychological testing, and the testing may take place over several hours or several days.

What Can I Learn From Online Psychological Screening And Testing?

After reviewing your results from an online mental health test, keep in mind that your results do not provide you with an official diagnosis. The results may indicate the severity of your symptoms and indicate whether a mental health diagnosis is likely. The test may provide you with several potential diagnoses rather than just one. As stated earlier, there may be overlapping symptoms, and speaking with a mental health professional can help you find an accurate diagnosis while also working through any feelings and concerns that you are bothered by. Regardless, it’s important to these results with your counselor, psychiatrist, or doctor. If you are also experiencing health issues, consult with a medical doctor to rule out any physical causes of the symptoms you are experiencing.

Think You May Be Experiencing Depression Or Anxiety?

Depression, stress, and anxiety tests might also be helpful for you to identify where you are currently struggling, problems with coping, or challenges you are facing, such as family issues, past trauma, depression, and anything else that you are bothered by. 

Everyone is unique in their own way, so it can be a good idea to talk with a professional mental health provider to explore your concerns about depression, anxiety, and/or stress. Studies have found that digital therapy interventions had “meaningful improvements in depression and anxiety.”

Internet-based therapy has several benefits for clients. It’s accessible as participants can join a session from their homes. Additionally, it’s typically more affordable than in-person therapy because clients don’t need to travel for an appointment.

If you wish to seek out a therapist, try to work with a therapist that seems like a good fit for you. It is important for you to feel that you will be able to trust your therapist. Be sure to ask questions during your first session. A good starting place is to ask about the therapist's experience, background, personal philosophy, treatment modalities, or any other questions that are important to you. If you feel that your therapist is not a good fit, you can always terminate the relationship and find another therapist.

If you answer the questions honestly and receive a score that indicates you don't have a problem with anxiety, stress, or depression, you may feel a sense of relief. However, if you feel you may be experiencing mental health challenges, it can be important to seek help rather than relying on the test alone. While tests can be helpful tools, it's best to reach out to a professional and ask for another opinion.

BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that allows you to obtain licensed, experienced, professional therapy from anywhere that works best for you, so long as you have a stable internet connection or phone service. Sessions can be conducted via video chat, phone call, or live messaging chat and are flexible. 

To get started, you can take a quick questionnaire to match with a therapist who suits your needs and preferences. No payment is needed unless you decide to sign up with BetterHelp and have sessions with your chosen therapist. We offer individual, family, and couple’s counseling services, which you can try risk-free and end at any time if you feel the therapist or services are not the right fit for you. You can also request to switch therapists at any time.

While anxiety and stress can both be experienced as symptoms of depression or lead to depression and can occur as comorbid conditions alongside depression, it’s important to note that anxiety, stress, and depression are not one and the same, and often involve different types of treatment. 

According to the current DSM V, there are symptoms of all that can overlap, but anxiety and depression are categorized as entirely different disorders, as are diagnosable stress disorders. For example, someone with anxiety, stress, or depression may experience the following similar symptoms:

  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Low or no appetite
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Financial problems due to trouble with functioning at work or school
  • Persistent feelings of anxiety, stress, low, depressed mood or feeling bad
  • Low or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Frequent anxious or worried feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Irritability or easily bothered
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Difficulty with or failure to meet deadlines 

Takeaway

An online depression, stress, and anxiety test may help to explore signs of mental health issues as a preliminary screening. However, it’s important to get a formal diagnosis from a licensed professional. Online therapists at BetterHelp can provide the professional support you need to cope with your mental health.

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