What Your Doctor Looks For
When you talk with your doctor, theyll assess your physical health. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be easily confused with underlying medical conditions.
Your doctor may examine and interview you for some illnesses that often imitate, or trigger the onset of, anxiety disorders, like:
- Central nervous system damage
- Low blood sugar
- Substance use
If your doctor determines that your anxiety isnt linked to drug use or a physical medical condition, they can refer you to a mental health professional who can diagnose you appropriately.
What Your Gp Can Help You With
If you speak to your GP about your mental health concerns, they can:
ask questions about your feelings and thoughts that may help you better understand what you are going through and what support is available
offer your medication if it’s appropriate and/or free talking therapies
recommend simple lifestyle changes that can improve your mental health
invite you back for another appointment in a few weeks’ time to see how you’re doing. They may refer you to a specialist if they think that would be more helpful.
If you feel very worried about your mental health or are considering taking your own life, you should talk to someone. You can call your GP surgery and arrange to speak to someone immediately, or alternatively the Samaritans offer completely confidential emotional support 24 hours per day:
Anonymous 28 London: People With Anxiety Need Time And Patience
For me, anxiety is the feeling that theres a voice in my head that is bigger than me. When its at its most powerful it washes over me and dilutes my personality until I dont recognise the person thats left. I feel afraid of everything.
The biggest misconception is that anxiety will just go away. For many people who suffer from it its something that you have to live with your entire life, and learning how to cope is vital.
Whenever my anxiety has got so bad that I need medication it can sometimes be frustrating when my friends and family want me to get back to myself quickly. People with anxiety sometimes need time and patience, and thats hard for those who have never experienced it to understand especially as sometimes there are no physical symptoms. Anxiety isnt something that just disappears overnight and sometimes although people may appear fine and back to normal they still feel fragile. Anxiety can come back at any time, sometimes without warning and for no obvious reasons.
- This article was amended on 28 June 2018 to remove personal details.
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What Is It Like Having Social Anxiety Disorder
In school, I was always afraid of being called on, even when I knew the answers. I didnt want people to think I was stupid or boring. My heart would pound and I would feel dizzy and sick. When I got a job, I hated to meet with my boss or talk in a meeting. I couldnt attend my best friends wedding reception because I was afraid of having to meet new people. I tried to calm myself by drinking several glasses of wine before an event and then I started drinking every day to try to face what I had to do.
I finally talked to my doctor because I was tired of feeling this way and I was worried that I would lose my job. I now take medicine and meet with a counselor to talk about ways to cope with my fears. I refuse to use alcohol to escape my fears and Im on my way to feeling better.
What A Mental Health Professional Looks For
Your mental health professional can diagnose you by evaluating your symptoms on specific criteria in the DSM-5, including whether:
- Youve experienced significant life changes recently
- Youve had anxiety and worry for at least six months
- Youve had trouble control your worries
- Your anxiety involves at least three of the most common symptoms of anxiety
- Your symptoms cause significant impairment in your everyday life
- Your symptoms are better explained by a different mental condition
Your mental health professional will work with you to uncover the root of your anxiety, make a diagnosis whether its generalized anxiety disorder or another anxiety disorder and find the best treatment for your unique symptoms.
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Talking To My Coworker About My Anxiety
One day while on a coffee break with one of my coworkers, we started sharing our feelings. It dawned on us both that we were essentially keeping the same secret, that both of us suffered from anxiety. One tiny share led to another, then another. Soon, we were pointing at each other, exclaiming, “Me too!”
We vowed to keep our revelation to ourselves and support each other through the tough times in a way only a fellow anxiety-sufferer can. When we spoke, it was in private, always in hushed tones, unwilling to divulge our little secret to prying ears.
We spend one-third of our lives at work. Finding support from a coworker can be invaluable. It certainly was for me.
Talking To My Boss About My Anxiety
I hadn’t planned on telling my boss I suffered from anxiety. I went into his office one day for our weekly status. My anxiety was high and escalating quickly. Behind my practiced, calm exterior, I was near tears, and within a few minutes, the flood gates opened, and I broke down.
I was so ashamed. I had collapsed in front of my bossthe single worst person to break down in front of as he could make or break my career. I sobbed and babbled as he gazed calmly at me, attentive, not saying a word.
When I was finally done, he leaned forward and said, “Thank you for telling me. That must have been so hard.”
He followed that with supportive talk filled with empathy and compassion.
My boss was an abrasive man. Honestly, I didn’t like him much. But on that day, I, once again, found support in a place I never thought I would.
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Strategies To Reduce Speaking Anxiety
Whether you’re about to lead a big presentation at work or you’re simply about to go out with friends and you’ll need to socialize with others, there are several strategies you can implement before the engagement that may help you with your speaking anxiety. These include:
There is an anxiety disorder known as social phobia that can make it harder to speak in public, and may make these strategies a bit more difficult. However, utilizing these strategies can lead to more self-confidence and comfort with the idea of speaking publicly.
Preparing For Your Appointment
Before the appointment it might be helpful to write down what you’d like to talk about to make sure that you don’t forget anything. Take a few minutes before the appointment to write up a list of things you might want to bring up.
Write down any symptoms of how you’re feeling and how your mood might be affecting you day-to-day life.
Write down key personal information, including upsetting events in your past and any current major stressful events.
Make a list of your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions and the names and amounts of medications, herbal remedies or supplements you take.
Feel free to take a family member or friend along to your appointment for support if it will help you feel more at ease.
Write down a list of questions to ask. These may include:
- what type of mental health problem might I have?
- why can’t I get over my mental health problem on my own?
- how do you treat my type of mental illness?
- will counselling or psychotherapy help?
- are there medications that might help?
- how long will treatment take?
- what can I do to help myself?
- do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can have?
- what websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared, don’t hesitate to ask questions to your GP if you don’t understand something.
You aren’t alone
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Should I Call An Anxiety Helpline
You can obtain information about anxiety and discuss your concerns with someone who understands and wants to help.An anxiety helpline can provide free, convenient, and easy services that will allow you to speak with someone who knows what you are going through. Staff members are highly trained on anxiety disorders and the treatment options available. If youre suffering from anxiety, you might feel a bit fearful of calling a hotline, but you should know that no one will judge you or criticize you for calling. You dont even have to give your name or any identifying information if you dont feel comfortable doing so. All free anxiety helplines are private and confidential. If you are seeking information for a loved one who might be suffering from anxiety, calling a 24-hour anxiety hotline can be very beneficial. You can obtain information about anxiety and discuss your concerns with someone who understands and wants to help. You can also learn about ways to talk to your loved one and encourage them to seek help if they are reluctant to do so on their own. Some of the reasons people call anxiety hotlines include:
What Questions Should I Ask
When calling an anxiety crisis hotline, you can ask any question you want. To get started, you might ask the call center specialist:
- How do I know if I have an anxiety disorder?
- Where can I go for an evaluation?
- Does my insurance cover treatment for an anxiety disorder?
- What can I expect in treatment?
- What types of therapies do they use when treating an anxiety disorder?
- What kind of stress-management techniques can help people with anxiety disorders?
- What types of medications are used in treatment?
- How can I talk to a doctor about available clinical trials or studies?
- How do I find a clinical trial near me?
If you have any other specific questions related to your mental health, physical health, or substance abuse issues you may be experiencing, be sure to ask the person on the helpline for more information.You should feel as if your questions have been answered to your satisfaction. If you still have questions, dont hesitate to ask again or even call back later.
If your loved one is battling an anxiety disorder, you can call a free anxiety helpline for support and answers. You may want to talk about what youre going through and how to find help for your friend or family member. Other things you may ask include:
- How do I know if my loved one has an anxiety disorder?
- What are the next steps in helping my loved one get treatment for an anxiety disorder?
- Where can I find resources for concerned loved ones?
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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.
Remember Doctors Are There To Help
Although it can be intimidating talking to professionals about personal issues, it’s your doctor’s job to listen and understand. Trusting your doctor may be hard, but sharing how you’re feeling is the first step toward getting help.
If for some reason you feel that your doctor isn’t helping you or isn’t the right choice for treating your SAD, you may want to look for someone else. You need to feel comfortable and safe with whoever is treating you.
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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
How To Help Someone With Anxiety
All of us worry and get scared from time to time. But those with anxiety may feel consumed by fears of things that might seem irrational to others. It can be hard to relate to these concerns, and as a result, many people dont know how to best help someone with anxiety. People are often dismissive of people experiencing anxiety, says Joseph McGuire, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine. With other medical illnesses, you may be able to see physical symptoms. But with anxiety, you dont necessarily see what the person is dealing with. So its important to be sensitive to what the person with anxiety is going through, even if it doesnt make sense to you. Its distressing to watch a loved one experience panic attacks and face anxiety every day, but there are things you can do to help. It starts with recognizing the signs of excessive worry and understanding the best ways to support your loved one.
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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: