Will An Anxiety Test Help And Should You Take One?
Updated January 02, 2019
Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault
We all deal with anxiety at some point and whether you're looking to take a test to figure out just whether you're stressed enough to need help or just to see where you rank compared to other people an anxiety test can help. There are a variety of different types of anxiety tests based on the type of anxiety you have. For example, if you have specific test anxiety or if you have generalized anxiety test results can't determine the difference, so it's important to choose a test that reflects the type of anxiety you're concerned about.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders affect over 20 million Americans and can range from simply feeling "stressed" to being severe enough that it makes life impossible. On its own, anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear or general unease, but as a psychiatric issue it becomes excessive and may be coupled with panic attacks and compulsive behaviors. Anxiety is more internal than external. Anxiety is often brought on by thinking about a particular situation.
A person suffering anxiety is tense, agitated, and has a genuine fear for whatever is causing their anxiety because the body's fight or flight mode has been engaged and it is behaving according to what it perceives as "danger" even if that danger isn't real.
What Is In An Anxiety Test?
An online anxiety test will involve multiple choice questions. These reflect how you react to different situations to determine whether or not you experience anxiety and how much. There are also tests which determine the severity of your symptoms if you know you have anxiety already.
These may ask you about specific symptoms like tingling fingers or difficulty breathing rather than asking if you feel anxious about different situations. The test will ask you how often you feel a certain way and reflect situations that are common among people who are already diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
There are also tests for stress anxiety which should not be confused. These tests determine how high your stress level is and how you're handling it and while you might feel anxiety and stress at the same time one is a medical condition that cannot be helped while the other is simply a reflection of how demanding a situation is.
Anxiety tests 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 should help with is giving you results which can be taken to a health professional so they can evaluate them alongside their questions.
Types Of Anxiety Test
The most common type of anxiety test is a social anxiety test for SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) or a generalized anxiety disorder test. It will ask about how you feel in certain situations, whether you avoid doing things, and whether you have repetitive behaviors or coping strategies you use when you become anxious in these situations. This is not a medical quiz at all but usually just an indication that maybe you're not feeling social and shouldn't be considered a diagnosis.
The Anxiety Disorder Test is more useful because it will determine how severe your anxiety is and if you're likely to have a disorder based on your answers and behaviors. While this too isn't a diagnosis, it will indicate the severity of your anxiety, giving a better indication of whether it's time to get help or not.
There are also daily anxiety tests which can determine how anxious you are on any given day which is ideal for tracking your behaviors. If you're considering visiting a specialist a daily anxiety test with records of how you're feeling and why can help them see how your behaviors change daily to determine the cause of your anxiety.
An Anxiety Disorder Personality Test is fairly common, but it's not necessarily useful. Most people who have anxiety have similar personality traits and behaviors, and while this won't tell you that you have anxiety, it may give you some indications that you're more prone compared to others based on your personality alone.
A panic attack test will determine if those strange things you're experiencing are panic attacks or not. Many people suffer from anxiety, but they may not have a severe enough reaction to classify as a panic attack. If you're experiencing panic attacks then the situation you're in must be giving you severe anxiety and it's important you seek treatment. This may not get the panic attacks to stop, but by identifying what's causing them and speaking with a professional, you may be able to create a coping system which will lower the chances of them occurring.
Another test which may help those who have anxiety is an OCD test. Obsessive or ritual behaviors are often how people who experience anxiety cope. They can be as minor as sitting in the same seat each time they fly or more debilitating. OCD isn't simply about liking things a certain way; it's about it being that way or causing a panic attack or worse.
For people with anxiety, OCD is a coping mechanism and while you might not think you have anxiety if you have OCD behaviors you may find these are more obvious to spot if you've become good at coping on your own.
There are several types of anxiety test online which won't help you. For example, if you have test anxiety, then you already know what is causing your anxiety and that you have it about this specific situation. A test isn't going to tell you anything more than that, and you'd be better served to go to a healthcare professional about your experience. Test-taking anxiety is very specific and easy to pinpoint while most of the above situations can relate to almost anything.
Free Or Paid?
A free anxiety test is a way most people start because they're easy to find. You can simply search for "anxiety test online," and you'll have hundreds of results of sites that can test your anxiety. But beware, most of them are just questionnaires without any real basis so they may not give you accurate results.
There's nothing wrong with either type of test but the paid ones may be more in depth and may be higher quality if they're sponsored or created by real psychologists. Don't be fooled by popular site names alone even if the test is free. There's no guarantee either paid, or free tests will give you the information you need about your anxiety, so neither is better than the other.
Look for tests that are sponsored or created by specific medical bodies like the NHS. There's a psychology today anxiety test for example that is based on psychology research and put together in collaboration with psychologists. This is a better choice than something you're going to come across on social media or sites like Buzzfeed which don't have any medical basis. These tests are helpful because real medical professionals create them and reflect similar questions they would ask patients when trying to diagnose their anxiety. They will also give you an idea of what you may be asked if you do decide to visit someone about your anxiety.
With the understanding that an anxiety test isn't meant to diagnose or treat an anxiety disorder, they can help patients by identifying their stressors or showing them that perhaps they're not coping as well as they believed. These online "quiz" style tests are different than the anxiety test doctors use but they will also give you a practice run of sorts, so you're less anxious when it comes to the actual test. Anxiety is a very easy disorder to spot but the fact that it's a legitimate coping method that everyone experiences is what makes it harder to determine when it's time to seek help.
Part of getting the right help has the right professional. Not all doctors are trained to treat anxiety, and the go-to is often a bunch of pills which can make you into a zombie. Instead, you want to research, using sites like BetterHelp, and take your findings to someone who can offer you a complete strategy.
If you're already talking to a professional about your anxiety, then a test is a good way of giving them information about your experiences which can help them better treat you.
Should You Take One?
Anxiety disorders are difficult because often worrying about your anxiety causes it to get worse. An anxiety test may help with diagnosis, but when you already know you have anxiety, then it can make things harder. Test anxiety is pretty common, and since these tests are meant as diagnostic tools, they're only useful if you're undiagnosed and on the fence about getting treatment. Even if you're avoiding treatment and just looking at better ways of coping a test isn't going to give you much useful information since you probably already know that you have anxiety.
Mostly these tests are for fun, and if you're looking for confirmation that what you're experiencing is anxiety. They're not particularly useful, and most people don't need them.