This page was medically reviewed by Dr Oluwagbenga Odeyemi (MBBS, MPH, MRCPsych, PGDip. in Clinical Psychiatry), Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Wellbeing Centre Birmingham.
How do you get Diagnosed With Anxiety?
Anxiety can be diagnosed by a medical professional, whether that’s your GP or a mental health specialist. They’ll be able to assess your symptoms and the impact they’re having on your life, and use this information to identify whether you’re suffering with an anxiety disorder.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, opening up to someone about how you’re feeling can be daunting. However, speaking to a qualified professional about what you’re going through means you’ll be one step closer to getting a potential diagnosis for anxiety and starting your journey towards recovery.
A good first port of call when it comes to getting a diagnosis for your anxiety is to make an appointment to see your GP. They’ll be able to talk to you about how you’re feeling and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Using this information, your GP will be able to either diagnose anxiety themselves, or refer you to a mental health specialist for further review. It’s likely that a GP will also conduct a physical examination to rule out any other causes for your symptoms.
Alternatively, you may wish to get in touch with a mental health provider, such as Priory, directly. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be able to put you in contact with the most appropriate mental health expert for your individual needs, to receive a consultation and diagnosis.
Our psychiatrists will usually use a formal diagnostic test to identify anxiety. It’s likely that this will be a rating scale where you’re asked to rate the severity or frequency of your symptoms. This will help our experts to conduct an in-depth assessment of your mental state and we’ll also be able to identify what type of anxiety you’re struggling with. This will then help us to create a tailored treatment plan, based on your individual needs.
When Should I get Anxiety Help?
Anxiety can be debilitating and can cause a whole range of distressing symptoms. Symptoms of anxiety may include:
- Constant feelings of worry and dread, and feeling as though you’re ‘on edge’ all the time
- Feeling irritable and angry for no clear reason and often taking this out on people who are closest to you
- Physical signs of anxiety such as a racing heart, sweating, nausea, trembling and appetite changes
- Experiencing panic attacks
If you’re experiencing some of the symptoms above and are finding that these are disrupting your overall quality of life and your ability to find enjoyment in things, it’s important that you seek professional help. Remember, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Anxiety is treatable and we can help you make a full recovery.
Priory therapist Niamh Maguire explores everything you need to know about anxiety, from the symptoms and causes to the most effective treatments.
What Happens After an Anxiety Diagnosis?
You may feel a mixture of emotions when you’re diagnosed with anxiety. You might feel overwhelmed, upset or confused – all of which are completely normal. You might also feel a sense of relief at finally being able to understand why you’ve been feeling the way you have. Ultimately, getting an anxiety diagnosis is your first step along the road to recovery.
Once you’ve received your diagnosis, you’ll be in a position to start treatment and start getting your life back on track. Treatment will help you to address your symptoms, explore any underlying triggers or causes for your anxiety and develop coping mechanisms for the future.
Today, there are lots of effective treatment options for anxiety, most of which involve therapy and/or medication. Here at Priory, we provide world-class treatment for anxiety. Depending on the level of support you need and how severe your anxiety is, there are a number of treatment programmes available to you.
During inpatient treatment, you’ll stay at one of our hospital sites on a residential basis, where you’ll receive round-the-clock support for your anxiety. This type of treatment is intense and gives you the chance to spend some time away from your usual living situation and any triggers for your anxiety
Day care is when you attend one of our hospitals for a set number of full or half days each week, to receive structured anxiety therapy
Outpatient therapy consists of you attending weekly therapy sessions for your anxiety, which take place at one of our hospitals or wellbeing centres. These are usually 50 minutes to an hour in duration
We also offer online therapy for anxiety, delivered through our dedicated online therapy platform. This allows you to access specialist anxiety therapy from the comfort of your own home and at a time that suits you
As well as talking therapies, many people find that taking medication can also help them with anxiety. The best type of medication for anxiety are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These are a type of antidepressant that can be used to help combat the symptoms of anxiety. Other medications used in anxiety treatment include beta-blockers and anxiolytics.
You can find out more about our anxiety treatment programmes on our approach to mental health treatment page.
How to Reduce Anxiety Symptoms
In addition to specialist anxiety treatment, there are a number of practical things you can do yourself, to try and manage anxiety symptoms:
- Make sure you get enough sleep at night and exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid taking illegal drugs
- Try to limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol
- Try to avoid rushing, trying to do too much at once or being too competitive
- Make sure you allow yourself time for relaxation and hobbies
- Try making a ‘problem list’ of all of your worries, and then try to tackle each one in turn rather than allowing yourself to become overwhelmed. Ask yourself: “what’s the worst thing that could happen”?
Reaching out for help with your anxiety is absolutely crucial so you can start living your life to the full again. Getting a diagnosis means you’ll be able to receive evidence-based treatment for your anxiety, helping you to overcome your challenges and take steps towards a positive future.
Get in Touch Today
For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0330 056 6020 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here
Call our Enquiry Line
For more information about the mental health services that Priory offer, download our brochure.Get our brochure