How to Talk to Your Doctor about Anxiety
- Prepare symptoms. Whether or not this is a family doctor, it helps to have everything you want to discuss written out beforehand. Consider your symptoms: are you feeling weak? Dizzy? Having heart palpitations? Whatever you can recall, try jotting it down so that you can give your doctor a full account of what you’re experiencing. It’ll be good to include specific times when these symptoms pop up, too.
- Relate other specifics. The symptoms aren’t the only thing to get across, though. Be sure to tell your doctor when and where the symptoms are better or worse; let your doctor know how you respond to them, as well. Furthermore, your doctor will want to know how long you’ve been experiencing all of this and what life experiences might contribute. The more readily and fully you impart this information, the faster your doctor can respond.
- Take relaxation steps. A good doctor’s goal will be to get you well, so if your doctor’s good, that should be the conclusion! It’s okay to be uncomfortable broaching the subject, but remember that this is you working towards wellness. Be as calm and open as you can be, and don’t forget to breathe. Go into the office with as little stress as possible so your doctor can receive the full account.
- Cooperate. When your doctor asks questions, answer them to the best of your abilities. You’ll probably take some physical exams and lab tests to ensure the anxiety isn’t a physical symptom of something, so be ready for those. Though you may end up answering things you’ve already stated, this is all part of the process to narrow down how to best help you. Try not to take any repetition personally.
- Have support. If you’ve told anyone else about your anxiety, you can bring them along as a source of calmness and witness to your issues. It doesn’t hurt to have someone aware of the problem help your doctor learn more, but at the end of the day, it’s you who’s being treated—don’t expect your doctor to base a diagnosis on hearsay.
Hopefully being upfront and honest with your doctor will pave the way to loosening anxiety’s hold on your life. If your doctor doesn’t arrive at a helpful conclusion or do anything to support you, however, it’s perfectly okay to check with others for their opinions. Once you get the referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health care professionals, you can rest easy knowing you’ll have help soon.