Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What tests diagnose anxiety disorder?"
I believe I have general anxiety disorder. I am a 40 year old woman and have had anxiety attacks as long as I can remember. What tests will they do?
First of all, I am very sorry to hear that you have been dealing with these symptoms for so long. Symptoms of anxiety can be very debilitating, and they can interfere with relationships, work performance, and all other areas of your life. Therefore, I highly recommend that you go see either your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist to help deal with the issue.
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There are no specific tests to diagnose an anxiety disorder (meaning that there are no blood tests, x-rays, etc). There are exceptions to this rule; for example, sometime thyroid problems can cause anxiety; therefore if your primary care doctor suspects a thyroid problem they may order a blood test to rule this out. If not, then the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is purely clinical, meaning based on your symptoms and your answers to questions that your doctor will ask. Fortunately, there are excellent medications that can be used to help treat the anxiety symptoms. Generalized anxiety disorder and anxiety attacks are actually two separate problems, although many people with anxiety symptoms will have both. It is important to get a firm diagnosis from your primary care doctor or psychiatrist, because the treatment may differ slightly for the two conditions.
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