To find out if anxiety is causing symptoms, individuals can seek evaluation from a qualified health care professional, commonly a primary care doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, explains Mayo Clinic. The diagnostic process typically involves psychological questionnaires as well as detailed questions about the patient's symptoms and medical history.
Oftentimes, health care providers use the diagnostic criteria set forth in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" when determining whether a diagnosis of anxiety is appropriate, notes Mayo Clinic. In the "DSM-5," the most current version of the manual as of 2015, generalized anxiety disorder is described as involving excessive worrying most days of the week that lasts at least six months and significantly interferes with the person's daily functioning. The manual also specifies that in order to be diagnosed, adults must exhibit at least three symptoms from a list that includes sleep problems, irritability, concentration issues, fatigue, muscle tension and restlessness. Children require at least one of these symptoms for a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis.
Anxiety symptoms may also result from other mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression or panic disorder, or from certain medical conditions, states Mayo Clinic. A health care provider may perform a physical examination in addition to a psychiatric evaluation to check for underlying medical conditions that may be causing the anxiety symptoms.