Beck Anxiety Inventory Test: How Severe is Your Anxiety?

by Editorial Board on November 18, 2010 · 3 comments

in Mental Conditions

The Beck Anxiety Inventory Test is a common method of assessing the severity of anxiety and is widely used throughout the medical profession. Also referred to as the Beck Anxiety Inventory, this test has been in use in various versions since being published in 1961.  Even today this test is very important for those who study anxiety.

The test itself is a multiple choice test with twenty one different questions and is currently recognized as the best way of measuring anxiety levels in an individual over the age of thirteen. Subjects are required to rate themselves on the 21 different questions.

For example, one of the self-rated criteria is the ‘Fear of Losing Control.’  To evaluate themselves, the test subjects must choose between ‘not at all,’ ‘mildly,’ ‘moderately,’ or ‘severely.’ Each answer is given a score of 0,1,2 or 3, and the total from the twenty one questions is then tallied. The quantitative nature makes this test very simple, and it can be quickly completed in five to ten minutes.

Beck Anxiety Test Scores

If the overall calculated score is 0-21, then there is low anxiety and no problems should be experienced. If the score is between 21 and 35 then the subject is experiencing moderate anxiety and may require advice on managing stress. When the score is any higher than 35 a strong potential for anxiety problems may exist.

As anxiety can manifest itself in many forms, this test is helpful in determining the main symptoms and their severity in order to figure out what types of treatment and therapy may be needed.

For instance, a mild or moderate anxiety level may just require advice regarding relaxation techniques and generally managing stress, whereas a severe anxiety level may require more intensive counseling and anti-depressive medication such as Sertraline or Prozac.

The Beck Anxiety Inventory Test score can also be an important piece of evidence should a sufferer wish to apply for disability benefits from the US Government’s Social Security Disability program.   Although the test is based on subjective answers from patients, it is still an objective medical finding that many doctors rely on.

In order for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to declare someone disabled, the claimant, or person who applies for disability benefits, must prove that they are incapable of working due to their medical condition which is either terminal or expected to last for over 12 months.  Because this test is internationally recognized by mental health care professionals, it can be provided to the SSA as part of your medical evidence records to show the level and type of anxiety being experienced by the claimant.  This test can show that the anxiety is a severe impairment, allowing the examiner to proceed beyond step 2 in the 5 step disability determination process that every Social Security Disability case goes through.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

lauren November 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

so where is the test?

Daniel December 17, 2010 at 7:37 am

great post, thanks for sharing

Vera January 24, 2011 at 2:09 am

Yes, I too would like to know… All that is fine, BUT WHERE IS THAT TEST and the scoring? Can anyone take it at home then add the scores and know if they need help? Or is it a secret only to be used by health practisioners? 🙂

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