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Anxiety Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Anxiety. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. Is the anxiety intermittent or constant?

    Why: Intermittent anxiety suggests the possibility of epilepsy, phaeochromocytoma, insulinoma or intermittent cardiac arrhythmia.

  2. Current stressors?

    Why: E.g. interpersonal relationships, physical health, occupational stressors or financial worries - anxiety states are usually in some understandable relationship to stressful life events.

  3. Have the symptoms followed exposure to an unusual stress?

    Why: e.g. sexual assault, natural disaster, battle? - may indicate Post-traumatic stress disorder which can occur with other symptoms of anxiety.

  4. Family history of anxiety?

    Why: studies have shown that there is an undoubted genetic component in the propensity to anxiety states.

  5. Medications?

    Why: some prescribed medications can cause anxiety like symptoms e.g. ventolin, thyroxine.

  6. Caffiene use?

    Why: excess caffeine can cause anxiety like symptoms.

  7. Alcohol history?

    Why: dependence and withdrawal can cause anxiety like symptoms.

  8. Hard street drug abuse history?

    Why: dependence and withdrawal can cause anxiety like symptoms.

  9. Benzodizepine use?

    Why: dependence and withdrawal can cause anxiety like symptoms.

  10. Can you tell me about how you have been feeling recently?

    Why: This is a general opening question which your Health Professional may ask to allow you time to tell them what you think your prioritized problems are.

  11. When do you feel anxious?

    Why: There are several different forms of anxiety which one can experience, and by telling your Health Professional when you feel anxious you may assist them to identify which form you are suffering from.

  12. Do you feel anxious for long periods of time, i.e., hours to days?

    Why: This can be one form of anxiety which is commonly described as Generalized Anxiety, or "free floating anxiety". It tends to be the result of an abnormally high level of worry/concern about otherwise normal life events or issues.

  13. Do you have trouble doing you normal daily activites, for example going to work and shopping, when you are anxious?

    Why: This question is asked to determine the severity of anxiety.

  14. Have you been more irritable lately?

    Why: This can be experienced with Generalized Anxiety, and is can be a diagnostic criterion.

  15. Have you been feeling restless or more "on edge" than usual?

    Why: Along with some other symptoms, these may be included as diagnostic criteria for generalized anxiety.

  16. Have you been more tired than usual or fatigued?

    Why: Generalized Anxiety may cause you to feel more fatigue than usual.

  17. Have you felt yourself to be less able to concentrate?

    Why: A lack of concentration is another of the diagnostic criteria for Generalized Anxiety, and may interfere with your everyday activities.

  18. How has your sleep been recently?

    Why: Sleep disturbance, and particularly insomnia (the inability to sleep) can be caused by anxiety. Additionally, any sleep disturbance may be classified as a criteria for generalized anxiety.

  19. Do you experience anxiety for brief periods (less than an hour) or experience panic attacks?

    Why: This is the second major form of anxiety and is often reported as being quite severe.

  20. When you experience panic attacks do they occur spontaneously without any identifiable cause, or do they occur in response to anything in particular that worries you?

    Why: In general terms, Panic Attacks can be in response to either no readily discernable cause, or they can be the result of an often specific imagined/real threat. The management of panic attacks may be slightly different depending on the cause of them.

  21. How do you feel between panic attacks?

    Why: It important for your health professional to garner an understanding of what exactly happens between your panic attacks such that they can understand their frequency, any potential triggers, and the level to which they are affecting your ability to lead a normal lifestyle.

  22. Can you tell me about how these panic attacks have been affecting you?

    Why: Whilst seeming an odd question to ask, this question may in fact be vitally important because it will communicate your current level of functionality and the level to which your condition is affecting your life.

  23. Do you have any particular fears, and if so can you tell me about them?

    Why: Fears or phobias can be a cause for panic attacks, and may in fact be quite treatable using modern psychological techniques. Your fears may include anything from specific animals (e.g., spiders, snakes), to certain situations (e.g., being in open spaces, being scrutinized or humiliated), or in fact a very long list of things. Your health professional will not judge you for the specific fear/s that you have, and by expressing them you are assisting in your treatment.

  24. Can you tell me about what has been happening in your life lately?

    Why: There are many life factors which may result in an anxiety disorder. These may include anything which results in a sharp increase in stress, any traumatic episode, or any major changes in your life.

  25. Has anything traumatic occurred in your life within the last six months?

    Why: Post traumatic stress disorder is a condition which occurs in response to a high magnitude stressor which could be expected to cause significant distress to the vast majority of otherwise healthy people. The experience of this condition includes a feeling of re-experiencing the event, avoiding things which may remind you of the event, and a wide range of symptoms which reflect a higher than usual level of psychological arousal (insomnia, decreased concentration, etc.). Significant anxiety may be a feature common to many aspects of this psychological condition.

  26. Has anything different to usual occurred to you in the past few days?

    Why: Whereas post traumatic distress disorder tends to occur anywhere up to six months after a traumatic experience, an acute stress reaction can occur to a similar traumatic experience anytime of up to three days after it is experienced. An acute stress reaction may be experienced with anxiety, decreased attention, feeling "dazed", some confusion/disorientation, amnesia, or some altered level of responsiveness (either heightened or extremely decreased).

  27. Have you recently experienced any bereavement?

    Why: The death of someone in your life may in some circumstances result in a state of anxiety or an anxiety disorder. Additionally, bereavement may be a risk factor for other things such as depression or suicide.

  28. Do you experience any obsessions, unusual or unpleasant things that you think about a lot?

    Why: Obsessions are thoughts that you find unpleasant, that are recurrent, and that may enter your mind even though you don't want them to, but are in fact your own (often irrational) thoughts. Obsessions by their very nature can lead to anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (which is an anxiety disorder).

  29. Do you experience any particular compulsions?

    Why: These are repetitive mental or physical acts which you may perform in response to obsessions you may have, and which you may perform in order to avoid a real or imagined anxiety-provoking situation. These can be incomprehensively excessive and may have no relationship with whatever real/imagined situation they are being performed to avoid. Compulsions may lead to anxiety (even if they occur in order to avoid it), or obsessive compulsive disorder.

  30. Do you regularly taken any medications, alcohol, caffeine/coffee, or other substances?

    Why: Some medications (antidepressants, steroids, thyroid medication) can produce anxiety as a side effect, whilst others (sedatives, benzodiazepines) can result in anxiety when you suddenly stop taking them if you have dependence on them. Any substance to which you may have dependence (caffeine/coffee, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine) can cause anxiety when you stop taking it. Some substances (alcohol, amphetamine, cannabis/hallucinogens, cocaine, caffeine, inhalants) may cause anxiety if you taken them in levels resulting in substance intoxication. It is important for you to tell your Health Professional if you are currently taking any medications as some medications prescribed for anxiety may interact with other medications, and may cause either medication to not work as intended or may cause unwanted side effects. If you have ever had any allergies or unintended side effects from medications in the past then it is important for you to tell your Health Professional about them.

  31. Have you ever been diagnosed with any psychiatric conditions?

    Why: Whilst anxiety can be the predominant feature of some conditions, it may be only one of many symptoms in others.

  32. Do you feel that you might be depressed?

    Why: Depression is a relatively common condition which may involve feelings of anxiety.

  33. Do you have any other medical conditions, or have you ever been to hospital before as a patient?

    Why: It is important for your health professional to know if you have ever had any other medical conditions or diagnoses. This is because anxiety may be caused by some non-psychiatric conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive airways disease, hyperthyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, phaeochromocytoma, some cancers, some forms of epilepsy, and some types or malnutrition. Asking if you have ever been to hospital before is a good way of getting you to remember any medical problems that you might have had in the past, even if you think that they were trivial, minor or are no longer current. An example of the last of these is that some types of head trauma can result in anxiety.

  34. Do you ever experience palpitations, chest pain, or an odd sensation in your chest?

    Why: Whilst anxiety is a psychological condition it can be exhibited by certain physical symptoms such as palpitations (an awareness of your heart beating faster/stronger than usual), chest pain or even chest discomfort. Chest pain as a result of anxiety can be very similar to that experienced with angina/ischemic heart disease or myocardial infarction, and your health professional may ask you further questions to delineate its exact physical or psychological cause.

  35. Have you ever been told that you had a fast heart rate (tachycardia) or high blood pressure (hypertension)?
  36. Do you ever experience shortness of breath (dyspnea), breath much faster than usual (hyperventilation), or experience a choking sensation?

    Why: Anxiety may exhibit itself via an episode (or episodes) of dyspnea/hyperventilation. You may not feel that you are experiencing anxiety; however it may assist your health professional if you explain the exact circumstances in which you experience these symptoms.

  37. Do you ever notice yourself trembling/shaking or having an increased level of muscle tension?

    Why: These can be other physical symptoms of underlying anxiety. They may be difficult for you to notice, and may in fact have been noticed by those around you at the time.

  38. Do you ever have a dry mouth (zerostomia), sweat excessively (diaphoresis), feel that your skin is cold or frequently experience "goose pimples"?

    Why: These can all be physical symptoms as part of the broader experience of excessive anxiety or an anxiety disorder. Unfortunately these can all be experienced by those who are healthy and do not have anxiety. As such it is important for you to detail how often and when you experience them, as well as if they are concerning you or not.

  39. Do you experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal discomfort?

    Why: These can be experienced with anxiety, and may become quite debilitating in certain situations if your anxiety becomes severe. Another way that people may describe these symptoms is "butterflies in my stomach".

  40. Do you ever experience headaches, dizziness, faints, loss of consciousness (syncope), or have any visual disturbance?

    Why: Anxiety can cause you to experience any of these, and they may cause a great deal of concern for both you and your health professional. As some of these symptoms can reflect other conditions which may be life threatening, your health professional may ask you about these in fine detail in order to ascertain their physical or psychological cause.

  41. Does anyone in your family suffer from anxiety or any other psychological condition?

    Why: Anxiety and some psychological conditions which may result in anxiety can have an inheritable component. Some personality traits also tend to run in families and may predispose you to anxiety.

  42. Does your child suck their thumb (thumb sucking), bite their nails (nail biting), bed-wet (enuresis), or have any particularly fussy eating habits?

    Why: If you suspect that your child may be experiencing anxiety then these are some of the symptoms that they may exhibit. Children exhibit anxiety and many other conditions in different ways from adults, and so it is important to mention anything that concerns you with regards to your child even if you do not feel that it is related.

  43. Does anything in particular tend to relieve your anxiety or cause you to feel less stress?

    Why: You may have already noticed that some particular things that you do may help you to feel less anxious or stressed. By telling your health professional what these things are, they may be able to assist you with psychological strategies using elements of those particular anxiolytic activities.

  44. Symptoms of depression

    Why: e.g. down mood, insomnia, poor self esteem, teary, poor concentration and attention, feelings of worthlessness - Most people with long standing anxiety will eventually develop depressive symptoms however anxiety can also be misdiagnosed as depression as they are closely related.

  45. Psychotic symptoms?

    Why: e.g. hallucinations , paranoia , delusional thinking) - schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can be misdiagnosed or associated with anxiety.

  46. Panic attacks?

    Why: recurrent panic attacks occur in Panic disorder and may be confused with generalised anxiety disorder or be associated with anxiety.

  47. Phobias?

    Why: persistent, irrational fear with a compelling desire to avoid the object or situation occurs in Phobia disorders and may be confused with generalized anxiety disorder or be associated with anxiety.

  48. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

    Why: can cause anxiety-like symptoms e.g. weight loss, emotional lability, agitation, nervousness, tremor, palpitations, racing heart.

  49. Chest pain, heart palpitations?

    Why: angina and cardiac arrhythmias can be misdiagnosed as anxiety.

  50. Symptoms of phaechromocytoma?

    Why: (e.g. discrete episodes of headache , sweating , palpitations , skin pallor , chest tightness and high blood pressure ) - can be misdiagnosed as anxiety.

  51. Memory impairment?

    Why: Dementia can be confused with anxiety.

  52. Symptoms of insulinoma

    Why: e.g. intermittent episodes of confusion, anxiety, stupor related to fasting of exercise.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Anxiety:

The following list of conditions have 'Anxiety' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Anxiety or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z #

Conditions listing medical complications: Anxiety:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Anxiety' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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