Do you worry too much about different things? Are you easily annoyed or irritable? Do you have trouble relaxing?

These are questions you might encounter in a test to see if you have an anxiety disorder, but their subjectivity can make them difficult to answer. How much worrying is too much? Are you annoyed often enough for it to be a problem?

A recent Indiana University study suggests there may be a more objective option when it comes to diagnosing anxiety disorders. The study discovered biomarkers in the blood that can indicate severity of current anxiety, risk for future anxiety and even what medication a patient should use.

This means that doctors would be able to diagnose anxiety disorders with a blood test, rather than relying on their patients self-reporting their symptoms.

Clinicians can already order the blood tests through MindX Sciences, which will send at-home kits to patients. They are currently self-pay — and expensive — but physician and psychiatry professor Dr. Alexander Niculescu, who helped conduct the research, says he and his team are working hard to get the tests covered by Medicare and other insurance companies.

“Given the fact that 1 in 3 people will have a clinical anxiety disorder episode in their lifetime ... that anxiety disorders can severely affect quality of life, sometimes leading to addictions such as alcoholism, and even suicides, and that not all patients respond to current treatments, the need for and importance of efforts such as ours cannot be overstated,” the study reads.

Despite being such a serious problem for so many people, anxiety disorders are often under-diagnosed.

“Most people who have panic disorders initially go months or years before they get properly diagnosed,” Niculescu said. “They have these episodes where they fear they might be having a heart attack and end up in the ER.”

Niculescu suggests that making the blood test a part of regular wellness visits could not only help catch anxiety disorders earlier, but help to remove the negative connotation from them as well.

“It helps the patient to de-stigmatize things, to demystify them, to see that it’s just another biological abnormality that can be easily identified and corrected, just like you would go to your primary care doctor for checking up on your diabetes,” he said.

The researchers discovered biomarker candidates, validated them in a different cohort, then tested their ability to predict anxiety severity and future worsening in a third cohort. Participants had a blood test and self-reported symptoms every three to six months or whenever they were hospitalized for psychiatric reasons.

The team employed methodology similar to the liquid biopsies used to discover markers of cancer in blood. However, it is more difficult to find indicators of brain activity in the blood, and it doesn’t help that current technology doesn’t allow for brain biopsies to be performed on living individuals.

“So we had to take a much more careful, much more elaborate route to make sure that we find that these markers are true and reproducible and predictive,” Niculescu said.

These complexities are why it’s taken these researchers about 20 years to develop an objective test. In the last few years, they’ve also developed blood tests for bipolar disorder, pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, which are also available for clinician use.