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Anxiety Doctor | What They Are and What They Can do for You

writtenByWritten by: Riley McCabe
Riley McCabe

Riley McCabe

Riley has a background in international affairs and enjoys writing about health and public policy subjects. He hopes his work will provide readers with the tools to live happily.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Ken Cosby M.D.
Reviewer

Ken Cosby M.D.

Dr. Ken Cosby received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, DC) and completed his research post-doc work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health including the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

March 1, 2021 Read Time - 7 minutes

Anxiety Doctor

Anxiety disorders are considered the most common mental health illness in the United States, affecting roughly 40 million adults. If you have experienced 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.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is more than just an emotion. It is both a mental and physical reaction to the effects of stress. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • Pounding heart beat
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent urination and/or diarrhea

Common mental symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Excessive worrying
  • Fear
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling tense or jumpy
  • Irritability
  • 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 is the best treatment plan for your anxiety.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

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? When 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 your 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 will 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.

Counselors

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.

Therapists

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.


Read: All There is to Know About Online Therapy


Psychiatrists

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.

Psychologists

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.


Read: Can Primary Care Physicians Prescribe Antidepressants?


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 that you are currently taking

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 the recommended medications?
  • What are some common side effects of the medication?
  • Will insurance cover the cost of your treatment?
  • Would therapy be helpful?
  • Are there lifestyle changes that 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:

Prozac

BuSpar

Sertraline

Paxil

Celexa

Lexapro

Zoloft

Cymbalta

Amitriptyline


Read More About Anxiety Treatment Online

Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

mayoclinic.org. Anxiety Disorders. Accessed on September 9, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350967

abingtonhealth.org. 5 signs you should talk to your doctor about anxiety. Accessed on February 10, 2021 at https://www.abingtonhealth.org/healthy-living/health-news/library/articles-related-to-general-health/5-signs-you-should-talk-to-your-doctor-about-anxiety/

familydoctor.org. Talking to Your Doctor About Your Mental Health. Accessed on February 10, 2021 at https://familydoctor.org/talking-to-your-doctor-about-your-mental-health/

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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