You may start by seeing your family doctor. However, you may need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist if you have severe anxiety or if you also have another mental health condition, such as depression.
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment, make a list of:
- Your symptoms, including when they occur, what seems to make them better or worse, and how much they affect your day-to-day activities, such as work, school or relationships
- What's causing you stress, including major life changes or stressful events you've dealt with recently and any traumatic experiences you've had in the past
- Health problems you have, both physical conditions and mental health issues
- All medications you're taking, including any vitamins or other supplements, and the dosages
- Questions to ask your doctor
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible situations, psychological issues or physical health problems that could be causing or worsening my anxiety?
- Do I need any tests?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Should I see a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider?
- Would medication help? If so, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions at any time during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Being ready to answer questions from your doctor may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Some questions the doctor may ask include:
Sep. 08, 2011
- What are your symptoms?
- Do your symptoms interfere with your daily activities?
- Have your feelings of anxiety been occasional or continuous?
- When did you first begin noticing your anxiety?
- Does anything in particular seem to trigger your anxiety or make it worse?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your feelings of anxiety?
- What, if any, physical or mental health conditions do you have?
- What traumatic experiences have you had recently or in the past?
- Do you regularly drink alcohol or use recreational drugs?
- Do you have any blood relatives with anxiety or other mental health conditions, such as depression?
- Generalized anxiety disorder (includes overanxious anxiety disorder of childhood). In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed June 10, 2011.
- Schneier SR. Generalized anxiety disorder: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 10, 2011.
- Blevins NC, et al. Anxiety disorders. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00011-9--sc9005&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&uniqId=257876576-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00011-9--sc9005. Accessed June 10, 2011.
- Lee RA. Anxiety disorders. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed June 10, 2011.
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