Preparing for your appointment

You may start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a mental health professional.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Your anxiety symptoms. Note when they occur, whether anything seems to make them better or worse, and how much they affect your day-to-day activities and interactions.
  • What causes you stress. Include any major life changes or stressful events you've dealt with recently. Also note any traumatic experiences you've had in the past or as a child.
  • Any family history of mental health problems. Note if your parents, grandparents, siblings or children have struggled with any mental health problems.
  • Any other health problems you have. Include both physical conditions and mental health issues.
  • All medications you're taking. Include any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements, and the doses.
  • Questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my anxiety?
  • Are there other possible situations, psychological issues or physical health problems that could be causing or worsening my anxiety?
  • Do I need any tests?
  • Should I see a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider?
  • What type of therapy might help me?
  • Would medication help? If so, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • In addition to treatment, are there any steps I can take at home that might help?
  • Do you have any educational 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 several questions, such as:

  • What are your symptoms, and how severe are they? How do they impact your ability to function?
  • Have you ever had a panic attack?
  • Do you avoid certain things or situations because they make you anxious?
  • Have your feelings of anxiety been occasional or continuous?
  • When did you first begin noticing your feelings of 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 traumatic experiences have you had recently or in the past?
  • What, if any, physical or mental health conditions do you have?
  • Do you take any prescription drugs?
  • Do you regularly drink alcohol or use recreational drugs?
  • Do you have any blood relatives who have anxiety or other mental health conditions, such as depression?
Dec. 31, 2015
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