How Anxious Am I? Take This Anxiety Self-Assessment
Anxiety is defined as intense, constant, and excessive worry or fear about everyday situations. Anxiety is a very normal reaction when an individual perceives a threat and a feeling that most people experience throughout their lives. As such, feeling anxious is a normal part of life. Most people will experience occasional anxiety surrounding things such as family, finances, or health.
However, when worry and fear become intense and constant there may be an underlying neurochemical reason. For those suffering from an anxiety disorder, the anxiousness does not alleviate but intensifies over time, with or without a viable reason for it. Currently, there are several well-known types of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, severe anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and various phobias. Such disorders are considered to be mental health conditions or and a person experiencing any of them may be diagnosed at some point with a mental illness. And while such diagnoses may be helpful in most instances, more and more practitioners are recognizing that such disorders may not be so distinctly psychological but perhaps more neurological and stemming from a maladaptive stress response in the limbic system region of the brain.
As we’ll see here, the brain is surprisingly malleable, and the field of neuroplasticity may hold promise for those experiencing the above conditions.
What are the common symptoms of anxiety?
There are many signs and common symptoms to be on the lookout for if you think you are experiencing anxiety:
- Feeling restless or on-edge, trouble relaxing
- Inability to control worrying
- Easily fatigued from daily life activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Sleep problems: difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Trembling or twitching
- Digestive changes (constipation or diarrhea)
How is anxiety measured?
One of the more common and trusted measurements of anxiety is the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) which explores the severity of symptoms. The HAM-A is also a primary tool used in assessing generalized anxiety disorder but is also utilized to evaluate general symptoms of anxiety across several conditions.
Other anxiety screening tools include but are not limited to:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale (GADSS)
- Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-IV (GADQ-IV)
- Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS)
- Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS)
Regardless of the number of measurement instruments, the first tool you should use is your health care physician or mental health professional. If you suspect you are suffering from anxiety or an anxiety disorder speak to your doctor. You can expect your health care provider to perform a physical exam, inquire about your symptoms, and may perform a blood test to discover any underlying conditions that may also be responsible for symptoms.
Take the Anxiety Self-Assessment
While not meant to serve as a replacement for a diagnosis of anxiety disorder given by a mental health professional, this quiz was designed with the help of expert psychologists to provide you with a baseline that can be used to assess your current level of anxiety, as well as changes over time by returning to this page and repeating the self-assessment.
How does this self-assessment work?
For each of the following questions, you will be asked to select one of the following options to indicate the frequency of your symptoms: never, very rarely, rarely, occasionally, frequently, or always. Your unique answers will then be used to calculate your results and determine whether your symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe. Further unique educational information will be shown in accordance with your results, and all results are strictly confidential.
Please note and acknowledge that this self-assessment is not intended to establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician or health care professional, or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The aim of this quiz is to provide education about the condition. By filling out this self-assessment and clicking “calculate” you acknowledge that you’ve read and agree with this statement and agree to re-origin’s Terms & Conditions.
How Anxious Am I? Take this self-assessment
How often do you find yourself:
Benefits of normal level anxiety
Bizarrely enough, the right amount of anxiety is actually beneficial. Anxiety is an instinctive way our body handles stress. In fact, it is anxiety and stress that makes up the fight in the “fight-or-flight” response to intense situations, it’s why the limbic system does such a good job keeping us from harm. The limbic system is the area of the brain in charge of behavioral and emotional reactions, specifically when it comes to behaviors required for survival.
Anxiety’s sole purpose is to protect us from danger by allowing us to react quickly to emergencies. The issue becomes when our limbic system does too good of a job, some of what our brains begin to perceive as danger is really completely harmless to us, such as public speaking, finishing up that report, or missing a few hours of sleep.
Scientific benefits of normal anxiety levels include:
- Focusing your attention on important issues and situations
- Provides the energy required to take action during stressful situations
- Increases one’s resilience to life’s unpredictability
Health risk related to anxiety
While normal levels of anxiety can provide benefits, elevated feelings of anxiety or anxiety disorders pose several serious health risks.
Due to the nature of anxiety symptoms, there is an increased risk of high blood pressure or heart disease. If someone already suffers from heart disease, anxiety disorders may increase the chance of coronary issues.
Effects on the Immune System
Anxiety triggers an individual’s flight-or-fight response which causes the release of neuro-chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline, into the body.
As a short-term event, these chemicals and hormones increase one’s breathing rate and pulse, meaning the brain is supplied with more canned oxygen in preparation for a fight or flight to the situation. Consequently, the immune system also benefits from a brief boost. After the dissipation of chemicals and hormones, the body returns to normal functioning. However, the continued feeling of anxiety prevents your body from returning to its normal level of functioning thus compromising your immune system in the long term.
How to manage anxiety
There are various methods one can employ to attempt to manage anxiety symptoms. It is important to remember that some techniques work better for some than others, what works for one person may not be as effective for someone else. However, if anxiety symptoms are proving hard to manage or lessen, seek support from a medical professional.
When feelings of anxiety begin to appear, controlled slow breathing can lessen the intensity of adrenaline and racing heartbeats. Another technique is progressively relaxing groups of muscles. This involves being in a quiet room and over several minutes attempting to tense and release as many muscles from the body as possible. This method helps with muscle tension caused by anxiety. Being active with healthy eating habits is also important, this can be as simple as going for a walk outside to spending time with loved ones. This will improve your overall well-being and allow for stress relief.
Overcoming anxiety with neuroplasticity “brain retraining”
re-origin focuses on addressing anxiety at the source, as opposed to just treating the symptoms. Because anxiety is, at its core, and full body, mind and brain condition, re-origin focuses on retraining the limbic system to down-regulate the “threat-reflex” and thus allow the body and mind to return to a state of calm. This is done in our program by capitalizing on the brain’s neuroplasticity or ability to change. By pruning away old negative neural pathways in the brain and forging new beneficial ones, we can not only learn how to self-regulate but also condition calmness and ease as our new default state. – This essentially means calming the brain’s overactive threat-response system so you can permanently and fully recover from persistent anxiety.
At re-origin, we guide individuals in how to use the perspective of the “curious observer,” by separating oneself from anxious thoughts and feelings and then learning to view them as nothing more than a temporary brain loop. By conditioning, this new behavior and experience with a series of science-based brain retraining techniques, its members of the re-origin program and community have been able to experience dramatic and permanent shifts in how they feel, function, and show up in daily life.