Preparing for your appointment

If you have agoraphobia, you may be too afraid or embarrassed to go to your doctor's office. Consider starting with a phone call to your doctor or a mental health professional, or ask a trusted family member or friend to go with you to your appointment.

What you can do

To prepare for your appointment, make a list of:

  • Any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long
  • Things you have stopped doing or are avoiding because of your stress
  • Key personal information, especially any significant stress or life changes that you experienced around the time your symptoms first developed
  • Medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions that you have
  • All medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you're taking, and the dosages
  • Questions to ask your doctor so that you can make the most of your appointment

Some basic questions to ask your doctor may include:

  • What do you believe is causing my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine my diagnosis?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or long term (chronic)?
  • What type of treatment do you recommend?
  • I have other health problems. How best can I manage these together?
  • What is the risk of side effects from the medication you're recommending?
  • Are there options other than taking medications?
  • How soon do you expect my symptoms to improve?
  • Should I see a mental health professional?
  • Are there any printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:

  • What symptoms do you have that concern you?
  • When did you first notice these symptoms?
  • When are your symptoms most likely to occur?
  • Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?
  • Do you avoid any situations or places because you fear they'll trigger your symptoms?
  • How are your symptoms affecting your life and the people closest to you?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
  • Have you been treated for other mental health disorders in the past? If yes, what treatment was most helpful?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use recreational drugs? How often?
March 22, 2017
References
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