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Self-Assessment: A checklist of Key Anxiety-related Symptoms

The symptoms of anxiety are sometimes not obvious as they often develop gradually, and since we all experience some anxiety at some points in time, it can be difficult to know how much is too much.

Some common symptoms of anxiety include:

• hot and cold flushes
• racing heart
• tightening of the chest
• snowballing worries
• obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour.

If you are familiar with any of these symptoms, check the more extensive list of symptoms common to the different types of anxiety disorders below. This does not provide a diagnosis (for that you need to see a medical doctor of psychologist) but can be used as a guide.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

For six (6) months or longer, on more days than not, have you:

• felt very worried
• found it hard to stop worrying
• found that your anxiety made it difficult for you to do everyday activities (e.g. work, study, seeing friends and family)?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also experienced three (3) or more of the following?:

• felt restless or on edge
• felt easily tired
• had difficulty concentrating
• felt irritable
• had muscle pain (e.g. sore jaw or back)
• had trouble sleeping (e.g. difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep)?

Phobias (specific and social)

Have you felt very nervous when faced with a specific object or situation? For example:

• flying on an aeroplane
• going near an animal
• receiving an injection
• going to a social event?

Have you avoided a situation because of your phobia? For example, have you:

• changed work patterns
• not attended social events
• avoided health check-ups
• found it hard to go about your daily life (e.g. working, studying or seeing friends and family) because you are trying to avoid such situations?

Panic Disorder

Within a 10-minute period have you felt four (4) or more of the following?:

• sweaty
• shaky
• increased heart rate
• shortness of breath
• a feeling of choking
• nauseous or pain in the stomach
• dizzy, lightheaded or faint
• numb or tingly
• hot or cold flushes
• scared of going crazy
• scared of dying?
• derealisation (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (feeling detached from yourself or your surroundings)

If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also: felt scared, for one (1) month or more, of experiencing these feelings again?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Have you:

• experienced or seen something that involved death, injury, torture or abuse and felt very scared or helpless?
• had upsetting memories or dreams of the event for at least 1 month?
• found it hard to go about your daily life (e.g. work, study, getting along with family and friends)?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also experienced at least three (3) of the following:

• avoided activities that remind you of the traumatic event
• had trouble remembering parts of the event
• felt less interested in doing things you used to enjoy
• had trouble feeling intensely positive emotions (e.g. love or excitement)
• thought less about the future (e.g. about career or family goals)?

and have you experienced at least two (2) of the following:

• had difficulties sleeping (e.g. had bad dreams, or found it hard to fall or stay asleep)
• felt easily angered or irritated
• had trouble concentrating
• felt on guard
• been easily startled?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Have you:

• had repetitive thoughts or concerns that are not simply about real life problems (e.g. thoughts that you or people close to you will be harmed)
• Done the same activity repeatedly and in a very ordered, precise and similar way each time
• constantly washing your hands or clothes, showering or brushing your teeth
• constantly cleaning, tidying or rearranging things at home, at work or in the car in a very particular way
• constantly checking that doors and windows are locked and/or appliances are turned off
• felt relieved in the short term by doing these things, but soon felt the need to repeat them
• recognised that these feelings, thoughts and behaviours were unreasonable
• found that these thoughts or behaviours take up more than 1 hour a day and/or interfered with your normal routine (e.g. working, studying or seeing friends and family)?

Based on the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (DSM), which offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used, or relied upon, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers together with alternatives such as the ‘International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems’ (ICD), produced by the World Health Organization (WHO).

For further information please contact:

Professor Christopher R. Stones (Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Management Specialist)

Phone: 011-801-5616 (Reception) OR 083-222-9666

Alternatively send a booking request on: www.nhcltd.com

NHC Health Centre
Cnr Christiaan de Wet Road & Dolfyn Street
(opposite Eagle Canyon Auto)

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