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Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

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Medical History for Symptoms of Anxiety

During a medical history for severe anxiety, excessive fears, and episodes of panic, the health professional asks questions about your symptoms and other general health questions.

Questions about your symptoms may include:

  • When symptoms first started or you first had an episode of severe anxiety or panic (panic attack).
  • What kinds of symptoms you have and what makes them worse.
  • What happens when you try to control them.
  • How much they interfere with your daily activities.
  • How much you worry about having another episode of severe anxiety or panic.

Questions about your general state of emotional and physical health might include:

  • The amount of stress and anxiety you have in your life, including any recent changes in your life (such as marriage, divorce, having a baby).
  • Your use of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
  • Whether you take any medicines, including medicines prescribed by a health professional and nonprescription medicines.
  • Whether you use illegal drugs, particularly cocaine or methamphetamines.
  • Whether you have ever had episodes of depression.
  • Whether you have any health problems, including problems with your heart or lungs, thyroid gland, or blood sugar levels.
  • Whether anyone in your family has ever had depression, severe anxiety, excessive fears (phobias), episodes of panic, or problems with their heart, lung, thyroid gland, or blood sugar levels.

If the health professional suspects that you have severe anxiety, excessive fears, or episodes of panic, he or she may ask you more specific questions about your symptoms, including rating how much you are bothered by them. The health professional may also ask you to keep a diary of your symptoms. The diary may include listing what you were doing just before you experienced symptoms, the thoughts you had, your specific physical symptoms, and how long the symptoms last.

The health professional may also want to talk with family members and people close to you about your symptoms.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerLisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last RevisedJuly 11, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 11, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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