Psychiatrist Vs Primary Care Physician: Who Should You See For Medication
One of the most common questions we see about anti-anxiety medication and anxiety treatment, in general is whether someone should see their normal doctor or a psychiatrist for treatment. The answer is: it depends.
Most of the time, a standard healthcare professional will be able to prescribe you medication and make some treatment recommendations for your immediate anxiety symptoms.
Theyre a great place to start for that reason, as well as for the general questions they can address.
Because your regular healthcare provider will typically know your medical history and other medical conditions better than a new specialist, theyll be able to protect you from harmful potential side effects and other risks associated with anti-anxiety medication.
Theyll also be able to help you look at the big picture, and whether things like diet and exercise may play a role in the issues youre having.
More importantly, theyll also be able to offer you referrals to mental health providers like psychiatrists, who will then be able to help you take your treatment to the next level if necessary.
Taking your treatment to the next level is perhaps the best argument for going directly to a mental health provider.
If youve had anxiety issues in the past, or if your anxiety disorder shows more severe signs , a specialized mental health provider will be best suited to guide you through your options for immediate treatment.
Stay In Touch With Your Doctor
Mental health medications arenât like antibiotics or some other medications, where the doctor tells you to take the medication for a certain period of time, then everything is fine and you never discuss the problem again.
You should stay in touch with your doctor and let them know how your symptoms are doing and if youre experiencing side effects.
Your doctor may want to adjust the dosage of your medication or switch you to something different based on your results and side effects.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Youve probably thought of a million questions you want to ask your doctor. But when youre in the office, theyre easy to forget. Writing them down will help both you and your doctor, and save time. Its a good idea to put the most important questions at the top of the list in case there isnt time for all of them. Here are some questions you may want to ask. Add any others you think are important for your doctor to know.
- Do I have an anxiety disorder?
- Is there something else that might be causing my symptoms?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Should I see a psychiatrist or a psychologist?
- Is there a medication that I can take? Does it have side effects? What can I do to prevent or relieve the side effects?
- Is there a generic medication I can take? How long will I need to take it?
- When will I feel better?
- What else can I do to relieve my symptoms?
The list of questions you make will help you be prepared to answer your doctors questions. Here are some questions your doctor will probably ask you:
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How To Ask Your Doctor For Anxiety Medication
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
If theres a textbook definition of irony, its the fact that people who suffer from anxiety are often hindered from asking for the help they need because it makes them anxious.
Excessive fear is something many anxiety sufferers contend with on a daily basis, and if youve felt similar things in your daily life, it may be time to ask a professional about treatment.
Medication for anxiety is an effective and safe way to treat the condition, and its widely recommended for the treatment of anxiety.
But despite a growing trust in mood disorder medications, many people still worry about how to ask for help, and how to tell their doctors they want to try medication to get their anxiety under control.
Well walk you through who to ask, how to ask, and what to ask to get yourself the help you need.
First, though, we need to cover some basics about what anxiety is, how its common symptoms manifest, and the medications currently approved as treatment for anxiety.
Drugs Commonly Prescribed For Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States. More than 40 million Americans live with one. This kind of anxiety is more than the usual temporary anxiety problems we all experience. disorders are persistent anxiety that interferes with daily living and relationships. Fortunately, anxiety treatment is often effective in helping people reclaim full, healthy lives.
When doctors diagnose an anxiety disorder, they typically recommend cognitive behavior therapy and medication. The combination of these two types of treatment is usually the most effective approach to managing an anxiety disorder. Drugs for anxiety work to relieve symptoms, such as nervousness, panic and . CBT helps you understand and address the root of anxiety. With time, CBT can give long-term control over anxiety symptoms.
Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Anxiety Long Term
Working With Your Provider
One way to make sure that you get the most out of your anxiety treatment plan is to establish a good relationship with the provider managing your mental health care. Dont be afraid to speak up if youre struggling with medication side effects or need clarification regarding psychiatric diagnosis or other therapeutic interventions. After appointments, check in with yourself and ask whether you feel understood and supported regarding your mental health. If yes, then youre on the right track to improving your mental health.
Coping Support And Resources
In addition to your prescribed treatment, you may want to join a support group. It can be very helpful to talk with other people who are experiencing symptoms similar to yours. Its good to know that you are not alone. Someone else with similar symptoms can understand what youre going through and offer support and encouragement. Being part of a group can also help you develop new social skills.
Your community will likely have several support groups, either for your specific disorder or for anxiety in general. Check with your medical professionals to learn what resources are available in your area. You might ask your:
- mental health provider
- primary doctor
- county mental health services agency
You can also participate in support groups online. This may be a good way to start if you have social anxiety disorder or feel uncomfortable in a face-to-face group setting.
Treatment of diagnosed anxiety is often multi-disciplinary. This means you may see one or all of the following medical practitioners:
- primary care physician
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Can You Ask A Doctor For A Specific Medication
Yes, it never hurts to ask your doctor if they think a specific medication would help you. Explain how you heard of it, and why you think it may help your anxiety. That said, the doctor may decide not to prescribe you that medication.
You should be open to the idea that a medication that youve heard of or that you know works for somebody else may not be the right choice for you.
Have an open discussion with your doctor about the risks, benefits, and potential side effects of any medication youâre considering and listen to the doctors suggestions carefully.
Working With Your Doctor When You Have Depression
Talking to your health professional about depression is a very important first step in your journey to wellness. Once you’ve received a diagnosis, you and your health professional will need to build a treatment plan that works for you. This is vitalif your treatment plan doesn’t address your own needs and concerns, you may not see the benefits in areas of your life that are most important to you.
On this page:
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Evaluation For Other Psychiatric Disorders
The evaluation for other psychiatric disorders is probably the most challenging aspect of patient evaluation because the symptoms of GAD overlap with those of other psychiatric disorders and because these disorders often occur concomitantly with GAD. Generally, GAD should be considered a diagnosis of exclusion after other psychiatric disorders have been ruled out. Because of the overlap and comorbidity associated with other psychiatric disorders, some authors have questioned whether GAD is a distinct entity and have posited that it is a variant of panic disorder or major depression.18,19
Symptoms of GAD can occur before, during or after the onset of the symptoms of major depression or panic disorder.12 Some patients have symptoms of anxiety and depression but do not meet the full criteria as delineated in DSM-IV,10 for GAD, panic disorder or major depression. In these cases, the term mixed anxiety-depressive disorder can be applied, although it is not yet part of the official nosology. Despite the confusion, anxious patients should be asked about the symptoms of panic attacks and the neurovegetative symptoms that are associated with major depression. When more than one psychiatric condition exists, an attempt should be made to determine which disorder occurred first. Some distinguishing characteristics of GAD, panic disorder and major depression are listed in Table 3.10,19
Symptoms remit but may recur
Major depression, alcohol abuse
Classes Of Anxiety Drugs
Anxiety medicine will not cure an anxiety disorder. But medications can relieve the emotional and physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder. This allows people to better participate in CBT.
Classes of drugs for anxiety include:
Anti-anxiety medications or anxiolytics include benzodiazepines, or benzos, and a non-benzodiazepine alternative. Benzos are for short-term management of anxiety symptoms. They relieve symptoms, such as panic or worry, quickly. But people rapidly develop a tolerance to their effects and they are potentially addictive. So, doctors usually do not use them long-term for anxiety treatment.
Antidepressants balance brain chemicals that control mood and stress. This can be helpful in treating anxiety disorders, especially if is also present. There are several classes of antidepressants, with varying side effects. It can take several weeks or even a couple of months to see the full benefit of these drugs.
Beta blockers are drugs that treat and certain heart problems. But their effects can also be helpful for relieving physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heart rate, and trembling. This makes them useful for anxiety disorders and for occasional performance anxiety, such as public speaking. These uses are off-label, meaning they do not have formal FDA approval for this purpose.
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Should I Go See A Primary Care Physician Or A Psychiatrist What Is The Difference
January 8, 2015 by Jenny
Hi, its Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Laura in Kennewick, Washington. Should I go see a primary care physician or a psychiatrist? What is the difference?
Generally speaking, you will not be able to see a psychiatrist without a referral from your physician or your counselor. A PCP or primary care physician also known as a family physician is a general practitioner. They are generalists and treat a broad variety of common medical problems from suturing and laceration to giving vaccinations to checking your blood pressure and cholesterol.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in treatment of psychological and emotional problems. They may do this through prescribing medication or providing psychotherapy. In some regions, if there is a shortage of available psychiatrists, PCPs may be the main prescribers of medication for mental health issues, particularly for anxiety and depression which are the most common mental health complaints.
Once again, a PCP is a generalist. A psychiatrist is a specialist. PCPs may be capable of prescribing meds for depression and anxiety based on their knowledge base that they have cultivated through continuing education conferences and also independent reading and experience treating patients with anxiety and depression. However, if your PCP thinks that your condition is too complex or is beyond their area of competence, then they must refer you out to a specialist.
When To Use A Pcp For Mental Health Medication
If you think you need medication for a mental health condition and arent sure where to turn, you can always start with a visit to your primary care provider , says Dr. Cliff Hamilton, a psychiatrist with Summit Health in New Providence, New Jersey.
PCPs are generalists, but they typically have enough mental healthspecific training to recognize, diagnose and treat common issues. Depression and anxiety, for instance, are well within most PCPs wheelhouses, says Dr. Nathan Kakish, an internal medicine and pediatrics physician at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital in McHenry, Illinois.
Starting with a PCP has a few benefits. For one, they already know your medical history, which means they might think of potential underlying causes before making a mental health diagnosis. Say you go to the doctor because youve been anxious or moody your PCP might run lab tests to rule out other medical issues that can cause those symptoms, such as thyroid dysfunction, rheumatological disorders, low vitamin D levels and anemia, before prescribing an anti-anxiety medication or antidepressant.
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Treatments For Anxiety Disorders
If you experience anxiety, youre not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States. They are also highly treatable.
If you have anxiety, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. Together you can find a treatment to help you feel better. Here are some of your options.
Treating Anxiety With Psychotherapy
Certain types of therapy are effective at treating disorders. In therapy, you talk with someone who has special training in mental health. You might meet with a , , , , or psychiatric nurse. Sessions focus on how to cope with symptoms and what causes your anxiety.
There are many types of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders, but here are two common approaches:
. CBT focuses on changing anxiety-related thoughts and behaviors. Youll work to change the thoughts that cause your fears. You will also learn new ways to react to situations that make you anxious. Your therapist may also teach you ways to relieve anxiety, such as deep breathing. Most people see benefits from CBT in about 3 to 4 months.
Exposure-based behavioral therapy. Exposure-based behavioral therapy is a type of CBT. Its useful for and specific phobias, like a fear of flying. In exposure-based therapy, you gradually face the thing or situation that causes you anxiety. Your therapist will help you along the way. By the end of treatment, the object or situation wont bother you as much.
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