If you feel that your anxiety is starting to affect your physical health, it may be time to go and see your doctor for treatment. Your doctor will look for symptoms and signs of the primary cause of your anxiety and find treatment for it.
If you suffer from extreme anxiety, you may need the service of a specialist instead of your family doctor. The specialist may be a psychiatrist who is a medical doctor in his own right. The job of a psychiatrist is diagnosing and treating mental health issues. The job of a psychologist, on the other hand, and similar types of health specialists is to diagnose anxiety and other mental problems; however, instead of giving treatment they offer counseling instead.
Listed below are some things you need to do to make you better prepared for your psychiatrist or psychologist appointment, and the things the specialist may do and/or ask you.
Things you can do:
Make a list of your symptoms and signs of anxiety. Describe what happens to you when you feel anxious. Are you filled with worries? Do you feel nauseous, get palpitations in your heart or get dizzy?
In your writing, include the time you feel anxious. Make a record the times of the day when anxiety strikes you as well as the events, places and situations when you are more anxious than normal.
In your note, list down the biggest stressors in your life – Are you in the midst of a life change like a new job, relocation, divorce, new baby, marriage or the loss of a loved one? Are some past traumatic experiences keep on recurring in your mind?
Write down the length of time you’ve had your anxiety. Is it a recent problem or something you have dealt for many years now?
You can list the medical conditions besides your anxiety that you now have including the one that you consider petty or minor.
You need to also jot down the medications you are presently taking. Include the vitamins, herbal meds or teas, supplements, minerals, prescribed and OTC medications you are taking on a regular basis.
This information can be very helpful to your specialist and make it easy to properly diagnose your anxiety and give you a better understanding of the reasons for your anxiety.
You can also write down a list of questions you want answered by your specialist or doctor. In addition to information about you, you may also want to write down any questions you have in order to be able to actually ask them instead of forgetting all or some of them during the time of your appointment itself.
Questions You Can Ask your Specialist
- Will the signs and symptoms of my anxiety return in the future?
- Is there a big chance for recovery if I follow your treatment course?
- How soon can I feel the effects of the treatment once I’ve started the treatment plan?
- Do I need to change some or all of my lifestyle to be able to remove my anxiety symptoms?
- Can therapy help my case? What kind of therapy should I undergo? Can you recommend a good therapist to help treat my anxiety problems?
- What medications to I need to take for my anxiety? Will they be taken only when needed or on a daily basis? How long do I need to take them?
- What are the side effects of these drugs? Will these side effects disappear immediately or not? What side effects are deemed serious enough for you (the doctor) to warrant its discontinuance?
- Can you recommend some things that can help neutralize the side effects of my medications?
- What are the medical options I have for my anxiety problems?
- What is your diagnosis for my condition?
Questions the Specialist May Ask You
- Do you take recreational drugs?
- Do you drink alcohol?
- Are there things that make you less anxious or feel good?
- Do you avoid people or situations that may make you anxious?
- Do you have triggers to your anxiety?
- How long have you been feeling your anxiety?
- Are you worrying or feel anxious occasionally or regularly?
- Do you experience panic attacks?
- Are your anxiety symptoms affecting your daily activities?
- What are your symptoms? How serious are they?
- Do you have insurance? Will it cover your treatment?
- Do you suffer from associated conditions you may be aware of?
- Do you or any members of your family have a history of anxiety or any kind of mental health conditions?
What to Expect During your Appointment?
For diagnosing your anxiety, the doctor/specialist will perform on you a thorough physical examination and require you to undergo some lab tests. This is done to determine whether or not your anxiety is derived from physical causes. He will most likely ask you a number of questions which some have been listed in this writing a while ago. Some of the doctor’s questions may be from information which you have provided.
The doctor will pay close attention to your answers and can furnish you with advices and recommendations to help you better handle your anxiety symptoms. By doctor, we do not mean your family doctor but a specialist like a psychologist or psychiatrist that specializes in the diagnosing and treatment of mental health issues.
Alida van Heerden is a licensed New York acupuncturist and a NADA certified acupuncture detoxification specialist.