Anxiety While Waiting for a Diagnosis

Written by: Vasundhara Shukla – M. Phil (Psychology)

Last updated date : October 30, 2022

The pandemic has changed our perception of health and illness. Now people are more careful with their health and wellbeing. Getting ill and going to the hospital is not a very nice experience. Most people experience anxiety while getting their check-ups in the hospital but if you are in for something more serious, the anxiety can be very distressing. The time between your check-up and getting the results is stressful. In this article, we will discuss how to manage your anxiety while waiting for the diagnosis.


"Very practical suggestions" Peter

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

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Chapter 1:

Is Being Anxious Before a Diagnosis Normal? 

It is a completely normal thing to be anxious while waiting for a results. It is also called scanxiety. The level of stress depends on the type of test and its result. For some people, this could be life-changing. If you are one of those who get stressed easily and take time to calm down, you might be more stressed than others.

But why do we assume the worst? waiting for the results can be a stressful time as many thoughts are running through my head. Studies show that in times of uncertainty we almost always assume the worst. This is also related to the fact that you do not have control over what the future holds. By assuming the worst we tend to brace for loss if anything bad is going to happen.

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Chapter 2:

Emotions Felt While Waiting for the Results

Some common feelings felt by people in the waiting room area –

  1. Impatience- There is a sense of hurry to find out what the results are going to be.
  2. Frustration- Being sick and having to spend time in the hospital can be very frustrating for most people.
  3. Anger- Frustration can quickly turn into anger at the medical system, your doctors, friends, and family, or towards yourself.
  4. Anxiety- Anxiety and stress are common reactions to uncertainty.
  5. Sadness- You might also feel hopeless and sad about your situation.

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Chapter 3:

What Can You Do to Manage Anxiety While Waiting For a Diagnosis? 

There are many things that you can do to manage your stress.

Talk to Friends or Family

It is a good idea to vent your feelings to close ones. Your friends and family will be patient listeners. This not only reduces your stress but also opens channels for solutions.

Join a Support Group

If you are waiting for a medical result regarding a serious illness, then you can join groups for people going through similar experiences. This can give you new ideas on diagnosis and treatment. This can also connect you to people who can understand how you feel.

Self Care

Do not forget to take care of yourself by eating healthy food and exercising well. By doing so, you can reduce the impact of stress on your body and improve your focus without having anxiety while waiting for a diagnosis.

Keep Yourself Busy

It can be stressful because of the unknown but going about your daily activities and sticking to your routine can make you think that things are normal. Keep doing your work so that your mind does not wander towards stressful things.

Let Go of the Control

The major cause of this stress is the loss of control the person waiting for the result feels. By being mindful of the present and not thinking about the future we can slowly lose the control we were holding on to so dearly. Sometimes this sense of control comes from expecting perfection in all situations and that everything should turn out according to you.

See a Counsellor

When you feel that your anxiety is not coming down then it is advisable to go see a counselor. He or she will offer better solutions to anxiety management. They can help you deal with the anxiety while waiting for a diagnosis.

Listen to Music

Whether you’re in the waiting room, in your car, or at home or work, music can help you to reduce stress, or find the strength to face difficulties.

Therapy Animals

Animals can also be trained to provide comfort and warmth to stressed-out people in hospitals. Ask your hospital if they have therapy animals that you can see.

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Chapter 4:

Call for Action

Waiting for a medical diagnosis is very stressful and the stress is mostly generated from our expectations of how things should be. Learn to let go of the control and keep hoping for the best. You can also enroll in our course ‘Perfectionism‘ to understand how this can interfere with letting go of control and how to manage it.


"Very practical suggestions" Peter

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount