Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You may start by seeing your family doctor. After your initial appointment, your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider who can help determine a diagnosis and create the right treatment plan for you.

What you can do

To prepare for your appointment, make a list of:

  • Any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long. Social anxiety disorder often first appears in the teens. Your doctor will want to know how your symptoms may have waxed or waned since they began.
  • Key personal information, especially any significant events or changes in your life shortly before your symptoms appeared. For example, your doctor will want to know if your social anxiety seemed to be triggered by meeting new people or a new work or social demand.
  • Medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed.
  • Any medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking and the dosages.
  • Questions to ask your doctor.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to go with you to your appointment, if possible, to help you remember key information.

During your initial appointment with your doctor, some questions to ask include:

  • What do you believe is causing my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine my diagnosis?
  • Should I see a mental health specialist?

If you're referred to a mental health provider, you may want to ask:

  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • Are effective treatments available for this condition?
  • With treatment, could I eventually be comfortable in the situations that make me so anxious now?
  • Am I at increased risk of other mental health problems?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

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

What to expect from your doctor

A doctor or mental health provider may ask:

  • Does fear of embarrassment cause you to avoid doing things or speaking to people?
  • Do you avoid activities in which you are the center of attention?
  • Would you say that being embarrassed or looking stupid is among your worst fears?
  • 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?
  • How are your symptoms affecting your life, including your work and personal relationships?
  • Do you ever have symptoms when you're not being observed by others?
  • Have any of your close relatives had similar symptoms?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
  • Have you been treated for other psychiatric symptoms or mental illness in the past? If yes, what type of therapy was most beneficial?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself or others?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use illegal drugs? If so, how often?
Sep. 12, 2014

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