Diagnosing anxiety disorders: Anxiety disorders can be caused by the way a person responds to stress, but chemical imbalances, physical illnesses, and drugs can also cause symptoms of anxiety. Most of these disorders are managed by counseling, but medications like Zoloft and Paxil are sometimes prescribed to fix the chemical imbalances. Doctors base their diagnosis partly on a series of questions:

  • Do your symptoms occur after a stressful event?
  • Are there certain situations or settings that always make you feel anxious?
  • Have you ever felt anxious over long periods of time even when you are not experiencing problems?
  • Do feelings of anxiety or the physical symptoms make you feel incapable of doing everyday activities?
  • Do you do things or think about things repeatedly that make no sense?
  • Do you frequently have nightmares or thoughts about a painful time in your life?

sources: World Book supplement: Mental Health, and the fact that my mother is a social worker.