How do I use the Subjective Units of Distress (SUDS)?

The Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) is a self-assessment tool used to measure the level of distress experienced at any given moment.

  1. Record a list of 5 situations you avoid because they create anxiety. Use 4-5 keywords for each situation, such as “driving into town”.
  2. Rate the level of distress that you expect each situation would cause you.

    You will need to enter and rate one situation at a time, then tap Save.
    Your situations will be listed in order of distress severity.

The scale below can assist you in rating your distress level for each situation.

0: Serene and entirely undisturbed

10: Vigilant and concentrated without any sense of unease

20: Somewhat worried or perturbed, and a preference to avoid the situation

30: Anxious or troubled yet capable of preventing avoidance

40: Slightly to moderately anxious and preoccupied but still able to face the situation

50: Distressed, uneasy, and clear need to avoid the situation

60: Experiencing moderate to intense anxiety

70: Overwhelmed by anxiety

80: Anxious and panicky, losing concentration and feeling intense bodily sensations  

90: Extremely anxious and desperate, feeling helpless and incapable of coping

100: Overwhelmingly distressed, rendering it nearly impossible to function and potentially on the brink of a breakdown.

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