How is Anxiety Diagnosed?
Diagnosing anxiety disorders can be a lengthy process. Get a brief overview of how everything works right here.
09:44 19 August 2022
While anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions, getting a diagnosis can be difficult. This isn't because the doctors don't want to help you, far from it. It is more the fact that several different conditions can cause anxiety-like symptoms, and these need to be ruled out.
Taking The First Step
The most challenging step when you are seeking to get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder is often the first. Understandably, many people find it challenging to take the plunge and ask for help. However, we can assure you that the sooner you seek help for your anxiety, the sooner the condition can be tackled.
A doctor's visit will start with a physical evaluation. The doctor may need to rule out physical conditions that could be causing the symptoms of anxiety.
You may be asked about any medications that you are taking. You will also be asked about a family history of anxiety disorders. In rare cases, the doctor may even submit you for a blood test. There are certain conditions, notably hyperthyroidism, which can cause anxiety-style symptoms but is not related to anxiety in the slightest.
You must be as honest as possible during the physical evaluation. We can assure you that the doctor is there to help. They aren't there to judge.
If the doctor is sure that you have nothing 'physical' going on, they will conduct a psychological evaluation. Remember that doctors can only carry out a basic diagnosis here. Some will refer you to psychiatrists for a full assessment. However, your GP has the skills they need to make a basic diagnosis and put you on the path to help.
You are going to be asked about your symptoms here. These symptoms will be compared to the symptoms laid out in the DSM-5. Therefore, it is essential that you are honest about your symptoms. As you may know, there are many anxiety disorders, and your doctor must diagnose you correctly to ensure that you get the treatment that will benefit your health the most.
Your doctor may also ask you questions about when your symptoms started developing. They may also try and work out what may have triggered the condition. However, don't worry if you don't know. That is something that will be dealt with much later on. However, some doctors may find that working out the origin of the symptoms is a useful diagnostic tool for trying to categorize your condition correctly.
Receiving The Diagnosis
If your doctor is confident that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, then they may be able to provide you with a diagnosis. However, do bear in mind that this is going to be a very basic diagnosis. They may ask that you visit a psychiatrist for further analysis, and the doctor can provide you with a referral here.
Chances are that dealing with the anxiety disorder long-term will be the job of a psychologist. However, the doctor may be able to prescribe you essential medications in the short term.
Receiving an anxiety diagnosis can be a long process. However, suppose you suspect that you have an anxiety disorder. In that case, it is essential that you go through the process as quickly as possible. The quicker you go through the evaluation, the faster you will be able to receive the help that you deserve. Then, the help you need to deal with life is a little bit easier.