Do i have selective mutism quiz

Do I Have Selective Mutism?

Can teenagers struggle with selective mutism? What about adults? The answer to both is yes. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is it so hard for me to speak in front of people?” ​​The question you should be asking yourself is, “Do I have selective mutism?” You should know that selective mutism usually starts in childhood but can affect people of any age. The first step to understanding selective mutism is to learn the signs and symptoms of this disorder. Selective mutism is more than just shyness. It is an anxiety disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak in public—often to debilitating effect. 

Adults with selective mutism may have trouble interacting with others in group settings, social gatherings, and the workplace. They may also have chosen educational or career paths that have helped them avoid social interactions. Even for long-time undiagnosed cases of selective mutism, overcoming this anxiety disorder is possible with appropriate treatment. How do you know if you have selective mutism? Start with this checklist. Do these selective mutism symptoms resonate with you? If so, it may be time to find a treatment professional who will help you find your voice.

You speak freely at home but shut down in public spaces

It can be confusing when you can speak openly and articulately around people with whom you feel comfortable but not when you’re in public. Selective mutism does not mean that you hate to talk. This anxiety disorder affects how you behave in public spaces, especially around people you don’t know well. Public spaces can include school, work, social gatherings, doctors’ offices, restaurants, and more—any place that brings you out of your normal routine and into contact with people you’re unfamiliar with may cause anxiety. 

Your anxiety paralyzes you completely

Selective mutism can make it feel impossible to communicate in certain spaces, such as the classroom. Places where your anxiety has been triggered may become “contaminated,” making it even more difficult to speak up in similar situations in the future. If you’re experiencing anxiety from selective mutism, speaking may not feel like an option in the moment.

You need time to adjust to social situations

Jumping into a social event can be hard, especially when you’re around people you don’t know well. When gatherings include strangers, acquaintances, extended family, classmates, or coworkers you are not close to, these situations can trigger anxiety. You may feel uncomfortable and struggle to make eye contact, answer questions, or speak in front of a group. Sometimes, this anxiety can be alleviated after a certain period of warm-up time to ease into socializing.

You resort to nonverbal communication to answer questions

When speaking feels overwhelming, it’s easy to resort to pointing, nodding, or writing down responses instead of talking. Even when faced with a direct question, you may not be able to find your voice. Nonverbal communication, such as pointing to a meal you wish to order, can feel like a safe alternative.

You have other forms of anxiety

Often, other anxiety diagnoses co-occur with selective mutism. Do you have generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or a specific phobia? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people diagnosed with selective mutism are often diagnosed with an additional anxiety disorder, most commonly social anxiety disorder. If you’re already working on treating an anxiety disorder, your treatment plan may go hand-in-hand with treatment for selective mutism. 

In public spaces, you only feel comfortable speaking through a trusted individual

Maybe you have a friend order for you at a restaurant or have a family member ask for directions to the bathroom at a store. You find it much easier to communicate with someone you know well than to interact with a stranger, so much so that when it’s required to talk to someone you don’t know well, you might freeze up or avoid the situation entirely. 

You avoid social situations due to anxiety

If left untreated, selective mutism may lead you to completely avoid social situations with people you don’t know well. The anxiety of leaving your comfort zone might feel like too much to overcome. This may look like: avoiding gatherings if unfamiliar people will be in attendance, not raising your hand in class when you know the answer, rejecting a promotion that would require speaking in front of a group at work, not scheduling medical appointments that would put you in a new situation with an unfamiliar doctor, avoiding activities you might otherwise enjoy if they didn’t have a social component, such as group sports, and more.

Your symptoms persist over time and significantly impair your life

This is the most important diagnostic tool for selective mutism: If your symptoms persist over time and significantly impair your life, it may be time to seek treatment. Treating professionals can help you navigate your options for treatment, whether through medication or other methods to treat the underlying anxiety, therapy to help you take small steps to adapt to new social challenges, or other forms of treatment.

How many of these symptoms did you check off? If you or someone you know is wondering, “Do I have selective mutism?”, remember this checklist and know you can work through this anxiety. A treating professional can diagnose selective mutism and develop an individualized treatment plan. Find treating professionals who have joined the Selective Mutism Association, Our directory is organized by country and state to make finding help easy for you. Become a member of the Selective Mutism Association for even more resources.

Do I Have Anxiety? Self-Test


  1. Self-Test Here Using the GAD-7
  2. The Anxiety Epidemic
  3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder & the GAD-7
  4. Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
  5. What are the Types of Anxiety?
  6. Risk Factors & Prevention
  7. Treatments for Anxiety

Anxiety is usually a normal and sometimes even healthy emotion. Anxiety is one of the body’s ways of motivating itself to take direction and it can be triggered by physical or psychological stress.

However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder[1]. Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry.

These disorders alter how a person processes emotions and behaves, which may cause physical symptoms. Mild anxiety might be vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety may seriously affect day-to-day living.

Unfortunately, as the world evolves around us, many new sources of stress affect the average human. According to large population-based surveys, up to 33.7% of the population are affected by an anxiety disorder during their lifetime[2].

Self-Test Here Using the GAD-7

This questionnaire, called the GAD-7 screening tool, can help you determine if you might have an anxiety disorder that needs treatment. This screening tool calculates how many of the common symptoms you have and suggests where you might be on a scale from mild to severe anxiety[4].

Please consult a mental health professional as soon as possible if your responses indicate you suffer from moderate to severe anxiety. If you received a score in the minimal to mild anxiety range, your risk for anxiety is low. However, you should seek professional help to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

The Anxiety Disorder Epidemic

The way that anxiety manifests itself has not really changed over the centuries. We’re still plagued by the same forms of anxiety disorder as our ancient ancestors, but the things that trigger our anxiety have certainly changed.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, an emotional pandemic is also following fast in its wake. More and more, doctors are reporting the spread of despair, worry, and depression among their patients. This is especially true for those already suffering from some form of anxiety disorder.

Even in our modern world, some of these traditional sources of anxiety are on the rise. These include loneliness, relationship factors such as divorce, violence and abuse including childhood abuse and neglect, increased working hours and more stressful work procedures, and a general sense of lack of control over our destinies.

Younger generations suffer from traditional sources of anxiety as they are introduced to the possibility of failure earlier and earlier in their lives due to increased systematic educational testing.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder & the GAD-7

Psychologists use various methods to diagnose a generalized anxiety disorder, including physical examinations and checking symptoms against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychological Association.

One of the most common evaluations is the GAD-7 (Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7). This tool quantifies common symptoms and allows professionals to monitor their severity based on the DSM-5 criteria for generalized anxiety disorder[3].

The GAD-7 was created to help develop a brief self-report scale to identify probable cases of GAD. The GAD-7 only focuses on one anxiety disorder – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the most common type of anxiety disorder. Although, it can still be helpful in identifying other types of anxiety. The GAD-7 can also be a helpful self-reporting tool that helps physicians establish a baseline for patient mental health[3].

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Contrary to the social stigma associated with anxiety, anxiety is not just the feeling of fear or panic. It can have other significant effects on your body and mind.

Some symptoms that anybody with anxiety can experience are[5]: