What Your Doctor Can Do
Before heading to your doctor, it is worth considering what you hope to get out of it. Your doctor can offer a lot of advice and answers, but their options are not unlimited, and it is worth keeping this in mind when going to see them.
Offer you a diagnosis
First and foremost, your doctor may be able to offer you a diagnosis.
This is important because you want to be tackling the right problem. Many people struggle with anxiety for years while thinking they have depression, for example. And the line between OCD and anxiety is a thin one.
It maybe the case that they need to refer you to a specialist for a detailed diagnosis. But, in either case, they are the gatekeeper to diagnosis.
Refer you for therapy
Your doctor may also be the gatekeeper to accessing therapy.
This is particularly important in countries with universal healthcare systems as you will be able to access therapy services for free, or subsidised by the national healthcare provider.
The downside of this is that there will typically be a roadmap you have to follow. In the UK, for example, you will almost always be sent for cognitive behavioural therapy, regardless of whether you think it is effective or not .
Only a doctor can prescribe medication. Therapists and counsellors do not have the power to prescribe, but your GP or a psychiatrist does.
Offer advice and understanding
When To Talk With Your Doctor
Anxiety is linked to many medical conditions, so its always a good idea to speak with your doctor about it. If youre concerned about your feelings of anxiety, thats reason enough to talk with your doctor theres no need to wait.
You dont need to have all of the anxiety symptoms to speak up about them, and you shouldnt wait until they worsen, or you develop new ones. Today is a great time to talk about anxiety with a medical professional who cares about your well-being. With both physical and mental health, prevention always benefits you.
The sooner you have an open and honest conversation about anxiety with a health care professional, the sooner you can feel better.
What To Ask Your Doctor Before Taking Anxiety Medication
If you have anxiety, its a good idea to tell your doctor, because anxiety is treatable, says Dr. Dubovsky. If your doctor recommends a medication, then ask the following questions, suggests the ADAA:
- Will this medication interact with any other medication, over-the-counter drug, or supplement Im taking?
- What side effects can I expect and what should I do if I notice them?
- How should I take this medication ?
- How long will it take to start working?
Anxiety can be a chronic or acute problem. Chronic anxiety often requires long-term treatment, says Dr. Dubovsky. Acute anxiety is a response to stress, and once that specific stress is over, then you may be able to stop the medication.
Before you do that, however, talk to your doctor before stopping any medication. Sometimes patients will say that theyre feeling better, but maybe the thing that was helping them was the medication, says Gallagher.
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What Is An Anxiety Disorder
We all feel anxious from time to time, but anxiety disorders are more than a temporary bout of worry or fear. An anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent, overwhelming feelings of anxiety, worry, or fear that are intense enough to interfere with an individuals day-to-day life. People with an anxiety disorder experience stress that is out of proportion to the thing they are worrying about and are unable to put these negative thoughts aside. They may feel constantly tense and on-edge, even if they arent certain what exactly they are anxious about.
Dont Be Afraid To Talk About Anxiety
Bringing up the conversation of anxiety with your doctor might seem intimidating, but it doesnt have to be.
Its important to address your feelings, and your doctors office provides a very safe environment to have that conversation. Know that although you may feel there is a stigma associated with anxiety, its a very normal response to fear and worry.
A lot of people never bring it up with their doctor because they worry theyll be put on medication for the rest of their life, and this just isnt the case. Medication is one of many treatment options available to manage and treat symptoms of anxiety, along with lifestyle changes and other natural approaches.
Dont be afraid to start the conversation with your doctor.
Its just important to bring it up and voice your concerns. That is the most important thing: dont be afraid to start the conversation with your doctor. It can be as simple as saying, Doctor I want to talk to you about how Ive been feeling lately
Your doctor will likely want to talk about your work, spiritual life, relationships and physical health and how anxiety might be impacting those areas of your life. Be prepared to also discuss your family history and personal history of anxiety, depression or mood disorders, chronic illnesses and other potential health concerns.
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How Your Doctor Can Help With Anxiety
If youre looking for a natural approach to tackling your anxiety, regular exercise, meditation, peer support, healthy sleep, balanced nutrition and deep breathing are proven ways to alleviate anxiety. Your doctor can also provide guidance on lifestyle changes and approaches in integrative medicine that could lower your symptoms.
But if adjustments to your lifestyle are not providing relief, your doctor may prescribe medication such as a low-dose pill option to help regulate neurotransmitters from the brain. This will balance your chemicals and physiology, and can help you through a period of particularly high anxiety. If you do decide to start taking a medication, you should speak with your physician about the long-term impact and treatment plan beyond the period of regular medication.
We need to normalize the conversation about anxiety and stress. Know that if you are dealing with anxiety, there is nothing wrong with you youre simply human. You have nothing to lose by bringing it up to your doctor.
Worried about going to the doctor during COVID-19? Rest assured that our COVID-19 Safe Care plan is designed to keep you and your family safe and healthy, both at home and when you come in for a visit. Learn more about our COVID-19 safety measures or schedule a virtual visit today.
If you are concerned about your anxiety, reach out to your doctor for guidance. Dont have a primary care physician? Find one near you.
Talking To Your Doctor About Your Mental Health
Talking about mental illness can be hard. There is a stigma that surrounds mental health and mental illness. It can prevent people from getting the support and help they need. But mental illness is a common problem. In fact, about 1 in 5 people will experience some sort of mental illness in their lifetime. So, dont be afraid to reach out for help. Your family doctor is a good place to start.
For some people, the thought of talking to their doctor about their mental health is scary. But getting treatment for mental illness is important. It rarely goes away on its own. Left untreated, it can get worse, lead to other health problems, or last for a long time. Deciding to talk to your doctor about your mental health is the first step on your journey to feeling better.
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Why To See A Doctor About Anxiety Management
Nearly everyone experiences occasional anxiety. Its that feeling of dread, restlessness, or an upset stomach before speaking in public, taking a test or going on a date. It is the bodys normal response to danger, an automatic alarm that helps you stay alert and take action. When anxiety interferes with activities and relationships, however, it transforms from something useful to a serious concern.
Anxiety directly impacts approximately 30 percent of adults in North America, making it the number one mental health concern. People with anxiety disorders tend to visit the doctor three to five times more often than people without such a disorder. If youre struggling with anxiety, there are three specific ways a doctor can help you with anxiety management
How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals. If youd like to learn more about anxiety Psycoms guide Tell Me All I Need to Know about Anxiety.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
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Who Can Prescribe Anti
In general, any physician or psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety medication.
However, you must see a doctor in person for anxiety medications that are classified as controlled substances. Online doctors cannot prescribe benzodiazepines, such as Xanax.
That said, online doctors can prescribe antidepressants, which are the first line of treatment for anxiety and have been proven to be highly effective. They also have less side effects and risk factors than benzodiazepines.
When To See A Doctor For Stress And Anxiety
Ever hear the saying, Stress is the enemy? Well, thats not always the case. Finding yourself a little sweaty and extra alert before a big presentation or solving a problem at work can be a good thing. But most of the time, if you had to choose between being relaxed and happy and being stressed out well, its a pretty easy choice.
Stress and anxiety can look very different for every person. Too much for some people is no big deal for others. How do you know whats normal and when its time to talk to a professional about managing stress? Here are the basics.
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How Do You Start Treatment
You can choose to start treatment for a mental health condition at any time by simply scheduling an appointment. Some mental health professionals own a private practice. Others work at clinics or centers, and scheduling is handled by an entire admissions department. The staff at the treatment center will schedule an intake appointment where you will be paired with a specialist who can best serve your needs.
Why A Mental Health Professional Is Best
It’s very importantespecially if this is your first time seeking treatment for depressionthat you obtain a referral to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional if your general practitioner suspects depression.
Though your family doctor or general practitioner may offer to prescribe you an antidepressant, they are not always the best-qualified doctor to treat depression. They do not possess the training to offer you psychotherapy nor are they experienced in the nuances of prescribing psychotropic medications the way that a psychiatrist is.
Psychiatry is a blend of art and science. Treating depression is not quite as simple as giving someone a prescription for Zoloft or Prozac and sending them on their way. Some individuals will need several trials of different medications to find one that best relieves their symptoms with the least amount of side effects.
Some people will need more than one medication to counteract side effects or to boost positive effects. Most will likely benefit from adding psychotherapy to the mix. Discussing options with your psychiatrist will determine the best path.
Depression Discussion Guide
Besides the medication specifics, you may have a completely different mental health condition and not depression. Bipolar disorder is one such disorder that may be initially misdiagnosed as depression but requires a very different course of treatment.
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Concerns About Speaking To Your Doctor
Even if you think your anxiety is serious enough, there may be other concerns that you are worried about. I address some of the common ones below.
They won’t take it seriously
This is a very common worry. Indeed, I had this worry when I first spoke to my doctor about it. I half expected him to say “I have people here dying of cancer, and you are wasting my time because you had to cancel your holiday to Disney Land!”
This is rarely the case, of course. Doctors deal with an array of embarrassing conditions and have enough training and experience to take all of them seriously. Anal bleeding, for example. Or incontinence.
And as for awareness of mental health, this is increasing all of the time. And medical professionals are ahead of the curve.
One in three people will have anxiety and depression in their lives, so doctors are used to people coming to them with these problems.
They won’t know what to do
When you see your doctor, they will be a GP: a general practitioner. This is what is sounds like. They do a bit of everything, and you could argue, are a master of none.
This very much an undersell of the knowledge doctors possess. It takes five years to go through medical school, plus two years clinical training, followed by a lifetime of more clinical training. Doctors know their stuff.
But, when you see your GP, they are not a mental health expert. So, to some degree, they may not have the expertise to help you with your specific problem.
They won’t be able to help
Get Anxiety Treatment From Experts Who Care
Having feelings of anxiety or an anxiety disorder is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. You dont have to go it alone, either. Anxiety is highly treatable, and its possible to manage it effectively and feel fulfilled.
At the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, we can offer you meaningful support from mental health professionals who want to help you feel whole, physically and mentally. Learn more about our our mental health care or reach out to us to get started.
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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: