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Anxiety diagnosis

2-minute read

Anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder that can affect ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks.

There are a number of treatments for the different anxiety disorders. The best way to work out if you have an anxiety disorder is to describe your symptoms to a doctor or mental health professional and get a diagnosis.

The more detailed answers you can give about what you're experiencing the better.

Often a detailed questionnaire will be used to assess your symptoms against recognised anxiety disorder criteria, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5).

You will be diagnosed with anxiety if the symptoms are affecting your ability to function in some way, either at work, school or socially. The questionnaire can also pick up if you have depression and how severe the problem may be.

There are different criteria for each of the types of anxiety disorders. Although being tested for anxiety can be daunting, it's a positive step towards gaining control over an anxiety disorder.

It might help to write down your symptoms for some time leading up to your appointment, so it's easier to explain to a doctor or mental health professional what you're going through and to get a thorough anxiety diagnosis.

At any time, if you feel that you may harm yourself or have thoughts of suicide, talk to family or friends and inform your doctor as a matter of urgency. You can ring a phone service, such as Lifeline 13 11 14, available 24 hours a day. If you are the loved one or carer, dial triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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