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?