Will An Anxiety Test Help And Should You Take One?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox
Updated February 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
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Do you believe you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder?

Anxiety disorders affect over 20 million Americans, so it may come as no surprise that there are many resources available both in-person and online that claim to be able to help a person screen themselves for relevant symptoms. Though they can help you learn more about your symptoms and may help point you toward appropriate professional support, anxiety tests you take from home aren’t typically meant to replace a real diagnosis. Plus, not all tests are created equally – some may spread misinformation that can lead you to overlook or even mistreat your symptoms. Regardless of whether you use an anxiety test, it’s generally best to speak to a professional if you think you may be experiencing signs of an anxiety disorder so you can get the help you might need. 

What is in an anxiety test?

An anxiety test is typically meant to measure to what extent a person shows signs of a potential anxiety disorder. Many tests involve a question-and-answer process that encourages users to consider how their experiences relate to certain statements. They may seek to understand how you react to different situations to determine whether or not you experience anxiety and how much. There are also tests that may analyze the severity of your symptoms if you know you have anxiety already.

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Anxiety tests usually take anywhere from 2-15 minutes depending on how complex and in-depth they are. The length of the test doesn't necessarily determine its effectiveness, though. What your test can help with is giving you results that can be taken to a healthcare professional for further evaluation. 

Types of anxiety tests

It’s generally possible to find tests meant to help you understand symptoms related to a variety of anxiety disorders, including those listed below:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder, which is the most common
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias

Typically, tests focused on these mental health disorders will ask about how you feel in certain situations, whether you avoid doing things, and how frequently you experience your symptoms. The exact format of these tests can vary, but they typically use multiple-choice questions or ask patients to rate how much they agree with a statement on a numbered scale. 

It can be important to remember that while tests available to you online may help you learn more about your symptoms and what they might mean for your mental health, they are not meant to replace a professional evaluation. If you suspect you may have an anxiety disorder of any kind, it’s typically best to speak with a medical professional about what steps to take to learn more. 

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Do you believe you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder?

Free or paid?

A free anxiety test is a way many people begin to consider their symptoms, perhaps because they're easy to find. After all, you can simply search for "anxiety test online," and you'll likely have hundreds of results of sites that claim to be able to test your anxiety. Still, many of them are little more than questionnaires without any real diagnostic basis, so they may not give you accurate results.

You may also encounter paid tests online that may or may not come from reputable sources. In some cases, paid tests may be more in-depth or longer than free options. Nonetheless, there's no guarantee either paid or free tests will give you the information you need about your anxiety, so neither is necessarily better than the other. Because they can’t replace a professional diagnosis regardless, it may be best to stick with free tools; they can likely deliver the same results and achieve the goal of educating you about your symptoms.

Can anxiety tests help those who use them?

While an anxiety test isn't meant to diagnose or treat an anxiety disorder, they can help patients by identifying symptoms, stressors, and other signs of a potential mental health disorder. These online "quiz" style tests are different than the anxiety test doctors use, but they may also familiarize you with the process of being professionally evaluated down the line. 

Oftentimes, the biggest barrier to getting the help you may need is simply not knowing you could benefit from it. Anxiety tests, then, can be useful in terms of demonstrating how mild or severe your symptoms may be. If you take a test that seems to strongly indicate you’re experiencing generalized anxiety disorder, for instance, you may realize that your symptoms go beyond “normal” stress and seek help as a result. Likewise, tests may also help you put your experiences into words; the more boxes you check, the more potential points of discussion you might find to bring up to a doctor or psychiatrist.

Should you take an anxiety test?

You may benefit from taking an anxiety test if you’d like to learn more about how your experiences might relate to a mental health disorder, but you don’t necessarily have to in order to pursue proper treatment. These sorts of resources might be best for those who aren’t sure what sort of symptoms they might be experiencing or those who are preparing to speak to a professional for a diagnosis or evaluation.

There is no one right answer, then, for whether you should take an anxiety test or not. It likely depends on your goals and whether you think it would help you to see the results of one. If your hope is to find a diagnosis that fits you, though, it’s likely best to seek out the opinion of a professional. 

Finding professional help for anxiety

Regardless of whether you have an anxiety disorder or not, it can be helpful to speak to someone who is qualified to help you address your concerns. Reaching out to a mental health professional like a therapist may be a good way to get started; even if you do end up needing to speak a doctor or psychiatrist for a thorough screening, it’s likely that therapy will be a part of your long-term treatment plan.

Online therapy can make it easier than ever to connect with someone who understands your needs and can help you find the resources you might require to get the answers you’re after. Because you can attend sessions from home, work, your car, or wherever else you can find an internet connection, you can save time and money you might otherwise spend going to and from in-person offices.

Research suggests that online therapy can effectively treat symptoms of several mental health disorders, including some related to anxiety. In fact, one recent literature review of several studies on online cognitive behavioral therapy found it could lead to significant improvements in anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic disorder, and other mental illness symptoms. Even if an anxiety disorder isn’t what’s causing your symptoms, it’s likely you can benefit from speaking to someone who can help you uncover what might be instead.

Takeaway

Anxiety tests can help those who may be experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder learn more about their experiences, including when it may be time to seek professional help. These tests aren’t meant to replace a professional diagnosis, so whether you should take one likely depends on your personal goals.

Tests can bring up many emotions

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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