Anxiety disorders are considered the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting roughly 40 million adults. If you experience anxiety but aren’t sure what to do about it, you’re in the right place.
Here, we’ll go over some of the ways you can seek professional treatment for anxiety and we’ll answer all your questions about the process.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is more than just an emotion. It is both a mental and physical reaction similar to stress. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive fatigue
- Pounding heart
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
Common mental symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive worrying
- Anticipating the worst
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling tense or jumpy
- Performing certain behaviors over and over again
- Difficulty completing routine tasks
- Feelings of powerlessness
- Flashbacks to traumatic events, situations, or people
Types of Anxiety Disorders
The five major types of anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder
Should You See a Doctor if You Have Anxiety?
Yes, if you’re frequently experiencing anxiety, talking to a doctor is the first step towards getting lasting treatment.
Anxiety is 100% treatable and there are many treatment options available to you. A doctor can work with you to decide what the best treatment plan is for your anxiety.
While anxiety is a normal part of life and it is not a problem to feel anxious or stressed in certain circumstances if your anxiety is creeping up when it shouldn’t be, seek help.
What is considered bad anxiety? someone suffering from an anxiety disorder does not experience anxious feelings in passing. Rather, their anxiety arises during routine or ordinary activities and interferes with their ability to go about their daily life.
When Should You See a Doctor For Anxiety?
You should see a doctor for anxiety if feelings of anxiousness inhibit your ability to live comfortably and perform the day-to-day tasks of your life.
If you’re feeling anxious more often than not, or you’re unable to do the things you used to, it’s time to meet with an anxiety doctor.
It’s also important to note that typically the sooner you seek treatment for a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, the faster you recover. Waiting for your anxiety to get worse before seeking treatment is not a good idea and may result in a longer and harder recovery process.
It can be hard to decide to seek help, so here we’re going to look at some of the ways you can begin to take the first step.
Related: Learn how high your anxiety levels are, take our anxiety quiz here.
Doctors Who Treat Anxiety
If you’re debating whether or not to seek out help for your anxiety, it’s important to know what kind of doctors can help you. Below, we’ll go over the different types of doctors that are equipped to help patients with anxiety.
The word ‘counseling’ is frequently used for individuals who are trained in psychotherapy, but true to the definition, it is also applied in contexts outside of mental health (for example, career counseling).
When ‘counseling’ is used in the therapy context, it usually indicates shorter-term talk therapy focused on a specific issue.
A therapist is usually someone who provides talk-therapy. In the mental health context, ‘therapy’ is associated with longer-term treatment of broad issues like depression or anxiety.
Professional counselors and therapists have a license earned through education, experience, and examination. To obtain a professional license in counseling or therapy one must complete a master’s degree program, log thousands of hours of supervised experience, and then pass a professional exam.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD or DO) who specializes in the treatment of mental health by medication and psychotherapy.
You might be wondering, what doctors treat severe anxiety? For anxiety that requires medication, you’ll need to see a medical doctor such as a psychiatrist or a primary care physician.
Here are some things to know about psychiatrists:
- They are the only mental health specialist who can prescribe medications.
- They have completed four years of medical school, a one-year internship, and a three-year residency program.
- They are interested in the relationship between physiology and mental health. This interest is what causes psychiatrists to treat mental illness by using medication to treat physical stimuli. A psychiatrist might measure blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, or other physical signals to gauge mental health conditions.
- Psychiatrists focus on medication management, but they can also provide psychotherapy or counseling. Even though they are qualified to do so, some psychiatrists recommend patients who need psychotherapy to a therapist or psychologist.
A psychologist is also a doctor, but they have a PhD or PsyD instead of an MD or DO. Psychologists specialize in behaviors, mental health, and how they influence each other.
- Psychologists cannot prescribe medication.
- Psychologists are the only type of therapists who can perform psychological tests such as IQ tests and personality tests.
- Psychologists have usually completed a one to two-year internship after completing their degree.
- Psychologists are interested in behavioral patterns such as sleeping, eating, and thinking.
Primary Care Physician
You can also turn to a primary care physician for problems with anxiety. Primary care physicians are a great place to start if you aren’t sure if you need a mental health specialist, or what type of mental health specialist is right for you.
They can work with you to create a treatment plan, prescribe you mental health medications, and if necessary, refer you to a mental health professional.
How to Find an Anxiety Doctor
- Ask friends or family members for recommendations.
- Use resources at work or school. Many places of employment have some form of an employee assistance program that exists to provide emotional support or counseling.
- Use a known therapist as a resource. Therapists refer patients to one another all the time for a number of reasons.
- Search online. Therapists and other mental health counselors will most likely have a website where you can find customer testimonials and a list of services available.
- Ask your primary care doctor. Your PCP is a great resource and can refer you to a specialist.
- Try PlushCare. Patients come to PlushCare all the time looking for anxiety treatment and our doctors deliver. With 97% of conditions successfully treated on the first visit, you can trust our top doctors have the experience to help you with our anxiety. Book here.
What to Expect During Your Appointment
If you’ve never been to therapy before, you’re probably wondering what to tell your anxiety doctor. You’ll likely discuss the following:
- Your symptoms
- When you feel most anxious
- What the major stressors are in your life
- How long you’ve experienced symptoms
- What other health conditions you may have
- Any medications you currently take
But what do you ask your anxiety doctor and how do you ask your doctor for medication? Consider the following questions you can ask during your appointment:
- What is your exact diagnosis?
- What different treatment options are recommended?
- What are the differences between recommended medications?
- What are common side effects of medication?
- Will insurance cover the cost of your treatment?
- Would therapy be helpful?
- Are there lifestyle changes you can make?
- How soon should you expect to feel better on your treatment plan?
Get Anxiety Treatment Online
If you’re looking for convenient and affordable treatment for your anxiety, try booking an appointment with one of our trusted PlushCare doctors.
PlushCare makes it easy to schedule a virtual appointment where one of our doctors can talk to you about your needs and prescribe you the appropriate medication, if necessary.
Common anxiety treatments we prescribe include:
Read More About Anxiety Treatment Online
healthcentral.com. 12 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your Anxiety. Accessed on September 9, 2020. https://www.healthcentral.com/article/12-questions-to-ask-your-doctor-about-your-anxiety
mayoclinic.org. Anxiety Disorders. Accessed on September 9, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350967
adventhealth.com. 5 Signs You Should Talk With Your Doctor About Anxiety. Accessed on September 9, 2020. https://www.adventhealth.com/hospital/adventhealth-orlando/blog/5-signs-you-should-talk-your-doctor-about-anxiety