Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Anxiety-panic disorders health centre

Symptom rating scales

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you have anxiety disorder, your doctor may use a list of questions or statements to measure your symptoms. Later, your doctor may use the same list to see if your treatment has helped. There are several different scales. Here are some of the scales mentioned in the research on anxiety disorder.

Hamilton Anxiety Scale

This scale lists 14 types of symptom. You and your doctor rate each symptom on a scale from 0 (meaning you don't have that symptom) to 4 (meaning you have it very badly). The total score can range from 0 to 56. A total score of 18 or more means you should get treatment for anxiety disorder. The symptoms are: [24]

  • Anxiety, including worry, insecurity, irritability, fear, dread, and panic

  • Tension, including nervousness, muscle tension, and trembling

  • Fears, such as fear of enclosed spaces or fear of open spaces, and avoidance of these situations

  • Lack of sleep or poor sleep

  • Poor concentration or trouble making decisions

  • Depression, including sadness, gloom, and hopelessness

  • Muscle pain or weakness

  • Trouble hearing or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), poor vision or blurred vision, unusual sensations on your skin (such as prickling)

  • Symptoms to do with your heart, such as palpitations (you feel your heart beating faster than normal) or feeling faint

  • Trouble breathing

  • Constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, or other problems with your digestive system

  • Needing to urinate too often; abnormal periods

  • Nervous symptoms, such as sweating, dizziness, or a dry mouth

  • Feeling anxious, nervous, or agitated while talking to your doctor.

State-Trait Anxiety Inventory

This test consists of two scales, the state anxiety scale and the trait anxiety scale. The state anxiety scale measures how anxious you feel at the moment. The trait anxiety scale measures how anxious you generally feel. For patients who may have anxiety disorder, doctors usually just use the trait scale, which looks at ongoing levels of anxiety. This scale measures your symptoms in four categories: [25] [26]

  • Excessive worry

  • Tension

  • Low self-esteem (feeling that you are not good enough, or even worthless)

  • Feeling demoralised (feeling that you can't be bothered to do anything because you won't do it well).

The four categories have a total of 20 symptoms. For each symptom you rate how you generally feel on a scale of 1 (almost never) to 4 (almost always). The total score can range from 20 to 80. A higher score means worse anxiety.

Beck Anxiety Inventory

For this scale, you describe how much you've been bothered in the past week by various symptoms. [27] You rate each of the 21 symptoms on a scale from 0 to 3 (the higher the number, the more you have been bothered by the symptom). The total score can go up to 63. A higher score means higher anxiety levels. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Numbness

  • Feeling hot

  • Feeling wobbly

  • Fearing the worst

  • Losing control

  • Fainting

  • Sweating.

Penn State Worry Questionnaire

This scale measures how much you worry. [28] You score yourself from 1 to 5 on the following 16 statements. A rating of 1 means the statement does not describe you at all, and 5 means it describes you perfectly. Higher total scores mean higher anxiety levels.

  • If I don't have enough time to do everything, I don't worry about it.

  • My worries overwhelm me.

  • I don't tend to worry about things.

  • Many situations make me worry.

  • I know I shouldn't worry about things, but I just can't help it.

  • When I'm under pressure, I worry a lot.

  • I'm always worrying about something.

  • I find it easy to dismiss worrying thoughts.

  • As soon as I finish one task, I start to worry about everything else I have to do.

  • I never worry about anything.

  • When there is nothing more I can do about something, I don't worry about it anymore.

  • I've been a worrier all my life.

  • I notice that I've been worrying about things.

  • Once I start worrying I can't stop.

  • I worry all the time.

  • I worry about projects until they're finished.

Last Updated: December 17, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

Today in anxiety-panic disorders

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets for beautiful hair
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
nappy being changed
How to change your baby's nappy
woman using moisturizer
Causes and home solutions
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
woman with cucumbers on eyes
How to banish dark circles and bags
probiotic shakes
Help digestion
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting