Anxiety can be overwhelming.  Though we all feel stress, anxiety disorders can cause a person to become agitated, restless, or excessively worried over something others may see as small.  Anxiety can come in many forms, whether it’s

  • Feeling your heart pound and palms sweat
  • Negative self-talk
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Difficulty sleeping and calming down
  • Racing thoughts and difficulty concentrating

You may not know whether what you are feeling is typical stress, or signs of an anxiety disorder, and that feeling of not knowing brings its own discomfort and additional stress.  

When we don’t know, we google. 

And when we google, we can find that there are many types of anxiety, as well as other disorders in which anxiety plays a part.  If you weren’t feeling anxious before, you may feel even more anxious as you flip through online pages of diagnosis after diagnosis.  There are some online anxiety tests, and they can be helpful as a starting place to help learn more about anxiety, and to see whether it may be helpful for you to seek professional help.  However, online tests have limits.

You’re probably feeling more anxious than normal when you read through a list of symptoms or diagnoses, and that may impact how you answer the questions.  Secondly, sometimes the way things are written is not clear. For example, these quiz questions often ask about how often a symptom occurs without providing context – how often is “often” or “sometimes”? Lastly, even if an online quiz can tell you with 100% certainty that you have an anxiety disorder, it may not be able to link you to treatment with a quality mental health professional, nor provide treatment recommendations that are tailored to best fit you.

Pros of Taking an Online Anxiety Test

  1. Learn basic information about anxiety.
  2. Get a starting point to understand your own emotions
  3. First easy step toward deeper self understanding
  4. Free, or low cost.

Cons of Taking an Online Anxiety Test

  1. Possible misdiagnosis
  2. General, often not validated (accurate) questions
  3. Not able to recommend appropriate treatment
  4. Difficulty understanding results
  5. Incomplete, limited results or insights

Knowing yourself is a key part of understanding how to take care of yourself, but figuring yourself out can be a complicated and uncomfortable process.  I’ll explain a few ways to get started on your own, as well as ways we can help.

Take an anxiety quiz or read an article online

Though they have their limits, those online anxiety tests can help us start to learn the lingo around anxiety and start to get some ideas about ourselves.  There’s a lot of them out there, so I would begin with any that come from any reputable clinics or universities. For example, here’s a page from Mayo Clinic on common signs of anxiety, or an article from Harvard on the difference between stress and anxiety.  In terms of quizzes, this quiz from Mindspot gets around the “how often” problem by providing more concrete terms, which may help you be more exact about your symptoms.  I also like this one from ADDitude, which provides more detail about what each of these symptoms means.

Start a Journal

Often our thoughts and feelings happen so fast that we have a hard time organizing them.  Journaling is a great way to slow down our minds and put our complex thoughts, feelings, and patterns out on to paper.  It doesn’t have to follow a standard format. For some people, just simple bullet points with their thoughts and feelings about a situation can be helpful to start to see patterns.  Find a format that works for you and work to integrate it into your regular routine. This can also help you see if your anxiety tends to happen in any kind of pattern, as well as help you answer those pesky “often” and “sometimes” questions with more accuracy. When you write, reflect by asking yourself:

  • When did I start feeling this way?
  • What events today contributed to how I’m feeling now?
  • What feelings do these words communicate?
  • How much do these feelings affect my well-being, on a scale from 1-10?

Consider psychological testing

At Here Counseling, we provide quality psychological testing that can help you better understand what makes you tick.  Psychological testing is a professional service that uses empirically validated measures to draw conclusions about your emotions and behaviors.

Our professionals will explore with you your concerns about anxiety, design a set of tests tailored to your needs, and provide personalized and concrete recommendations to help you with your anxiety.  These tests can provide so much more than a quick online quiz, as we conduct a thorough interview to see patterns in your anxiety or in your history, look at other personality traits that may contribute to anxiety or be sources of strength to help you combat anxiety, and check for any other concerns that could be linked to anxiety.  Let’s understand how psychological testing works.

  1. Initial interview. A psychologist will ask you about the questions you want answered about yourself. These can range from questions about a specific diagnosis, such as ADHD or Bipolar II, to questions about your personality and relationship patterns.
  2. Testing. You’ll come back in for a few hours of testing in which the psychologist will help you complete hand-picked, curated measures that together create a cohesive picture of your functioning.
  3. Report writing. The psychologist writes a report with significant findings from the measures and draws conclusions in order to clearly shed light on the testing question.
  4. Feedback session. The psychologist will sit down and explain the results of the test, and also recommend next steps for accommodation or treatment.

Having a professional working with you to give you accurate and helpful information has the potential to transform your life and move you closer toward your goals. It takes the pressure off of you to figure out the problem, so that you can take the right steps forward toward healing, health, and wholeness. Reach out today, we’re here to help.

Ashley Holcomb

Ashley provides psychotherapy and testing in our downtown Los Angeles office.