For decades, the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAS) has helped doctors and therapists assess anxiety symptoms. This is a key step in finding the right treatment.

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The Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAS) is a somatic and psychic subscale used by doctors and therapists. It was created by Max Hamilton, a medical doctor, in 1959. It’s considered useful for measuring an individual’s level of anxiety.

Your doctor or therapist can use this scale to diagnose anxiety and design a treatment plan that can help you. It’s free to use but must be done by a professional.

The HAS has been criticized for not distinguishing between anxiety and depression, so your doctor may recommend another type of measurement if necessary.

The HAS uses 14 questions to assess the level of anxiety you might experience around a range of items. These are related to:

  • mood
  • tension
  • fears
  • sleep
  • concentration and memory
  • body movements
  • sensory systems
  • symptoms related to your heart, chest, digestion, genitourinary, or nerve systems
  • behavior

When using the HAS, you’ll rank the 14 items from 0 to 4. These numbers mean:

  • 0 = not present
  • 1 = mildly present
  • 2 = moderately present
  • 3 = present
  • 4 = severely present

After you complete the scale, your overall score will be created by adding up the scores of each survey item. The total score provides an indication of how much anxiety you experience. The highest score possible is 56 points.

There are several categories of anxiety based on your score:

  • scores of 17 or less indicate mild anxiety
  • scores of 18 to 24 indicate mild/moderate anxiety
  • scores of 25 to 30 indicate moderate/severe anxiety
  • scores above 30 indicate very severe anxiety

This survey takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete and can be used with people of all ages, including children.

Your doctor or therapist can use the results of the HAS to understand the severity of your anxiety. It can aid in your diagnosis, but they may use other tools during the evaluation process as well.

HAS is an objective measure that can be included in your medical file, used by other practitioners, and referenced in the future.

Your doctor or therapist will use the HAS in combination with other diagnostic tools, including talking with you about your symptoms and other circumstances outside of the scale.

To determine a treatment plan, your doctor or therapist will use their clinical judgment along with data collected from the HAS and other intake methods.

The HAS has been used for more than 60 years and is still considered a reliable and valid method for measuring anxiety.

Researchers have found it to have interrater reliability, internal consistency, and convergent validity over the course of its existence, according to a study in the journal Psychiatry Research.

There are concerns raised in research that the scale does not distinguish between anxiety and depression. There are other scales and measurements that your doctor or therapist may prefer to use to measure anxiety because of this limitation.

The HAS is free to use and is in the public domain. It has been translated in several languages as well, including Cantonese, French, and Spanish.

A doctor or other mental health professional will administer the HAS, so you’ll incur a cost when you meet with them. Your fee for the appointment will depend on the medical professional you see and your personal insurance coverage.

You may be able to find low- or no-cost resources for anxiety on government and health organization websites like:

Keep learning about anxiety

Healthline also offers many free resources, including on the following anxiety-related topics:

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Your doctor or therapist may use the HAS to determine the severity of your symptoms. This is a proven tool to measure anxiety, but it’s just one way to diagnose and understand your anxiety.

Your doctor may use the HAS, along with other diagnostic techniques, such as a personal interview, to determine your anxiety symptoms and treatment options.