Hello, I’m Dr. Carlo Carandang, and I’m a psychiatrist. Today, I will talk about diagnosing anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are diagnosed by doctors, which include family physicians, psychiatrists, and PhD-level psychologists.
Here is a flow chart that doctors should be using when they are evaluating you for anxiety disorder:
As an example, let’s say you have significant anxiety symptoms, and it impairs your daily functioning and your life. So when we look at this flow chart, the doctor should be assessing if you also have moderate to severe depression. If the answer is yes, then the doctor should be treating your depression first.
The reason for this is that depression is an emergency, and is more of an emergency than your anxiety symptoms, as severe depression can lead to safety issues such as suicidal behaviors. Therefore, it’s important to treat the depression first.
If the answer to this question is no, then you don’t have a concurrent severe depressive episode. The doctor can then proceed and look at what particular anxiety symptoms you may have.
So let’s say you have a history of trauma and you also have flashbacks and nightmares. This could clue-in the doctor that you might have post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. The doctor should then go on to evaluate you fully for PTSD.
On the other hand, you may have obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are recurrent, intrusive thoughts which cause significant anxiety. Compulsions are behaviors which you repeat systematically in a ritualistic manner, and these serve to decrease the anxiety associated with the obsessions. So let’s say you have obsessions plus or minus compulsions. The doctor should then check if you have OCD, also known as obsessive compulsive disorder.
In another scenario, let’s say you have uncontrollable worry about several areas. You have generalize worries, so then the doctor should check for generalized anxiety disorder, also known as GAD.
Furthermore, let’s say you have symptoms of panic or anxiety attacks. This could be a number of things. This could be panic attacks due to feared social social situations. So you might have a fear of being embarrassed in crowds. If this is the case, then the doctor should check for social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder.
If the anxiety or panic attacks are caused by discrete objects or situations which are highly feared, then the doctor should check for specific phobia.
If the panic and/or anxiety attacks are severe or if they occur spontaneously (such as getting panic attacks which wake you from sleep or getting a panic attack while you’re just sitting in your chair), then the doctor should check for panic disorder.
For more information and help on anxiety disorders, please visit the rest of AnxietyBoss.com. Thank you for listening I’m Dr. Carlo Carandang.