How Do I Ask My Doctor For Anxiety Medication?
Is excessive fear, worry, or anxiety affecting your daily life? You are likely suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Help is out there. Many people are relieved to learn that you don’t need to see an expensive psychiatrist to receive mental health help.
Primary care doctors are able to treat many common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Initiating a conversation about starting anxiety medication can be nerve-wracking, but there’s no need to be intimidated. Remember the doctor is there to help you.
In this article we’ll go over how to ask your doctor for anti-anxiety medication so you can feel prepared to get the help you need.
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Guidelines to follow when asking your doctor for anxiety medication:
Be Direct and Specific; Ask Your Doctor to Do the Same
Don’t waste time being vague about what you’re seeking help for. Be direct and specific about what symptoms you’ve been struggling with and for how long. Also be sure to mention whether you’ve spoken to a therapist. Ask your doctor to be direct and specific in return.
Ask Why They Recommend a Specific Medication and if Other Options Are Available
Some doctors may have a specific medication they start most of their anxiety patients on because they feel it has the highest effectiveness with the fewest side effects.
Other doctors may take a variety of factors into consideration before recommending a specific medication.
Always ask your doctor why they recommend the medication they did and if other options might be more appropriate for you.
Find Out About Potential Side Effects You Could Experience
All medications have the risk of potential side effects. Some medications have more, or worse, side effects than others. Make sure you know what to expect so you can make an informed decision about whether the potential risks are worth the potential benefits.
Ask How Soon You Should See Benefits
Some medication for anxiety (particularly antidepressants) must build up in your system for several weeks before you notice relief from your symptoms. Ask your doctor what it might look like when the medication starts to kick in and how long that might take.
Don’t Start the Medication Until You’re Ready
If you’re ready to start a medication today, that’s great, but don’t feel like you have to. It’s okay to take more time to research a medication before starting it. Don’t feel like you must start taking medication today just because your doctor recommended it.
Ask Your Doctor How Long They Think You’ll Need the Medication
How long will you need to take this medication? A few weeks? A few months? A few years? As needed? Forever? The answer will vary depending on your symptoms, health history, and the medication prescribed.
Stay In Touch with Your Doctor
Mental health medications aren’t like antibiotics or some other medications, where the doctor tells you to take the medication for a certain period of time, then everything is fine and you never discuss the problem again.
You should stay in touch with your doctor and let them know how your symptoms are doing and if you’re experiencing side effects.
Your doctor may want to adjust the dosage of your medication or switch you to something different based on your results and side effects.
Consider a Second Opinion from a Psychiatrist
While any physician can prescribe medication for anxiety (with limitations on what online doctors can prescribe), psychiatrists are the true experts.
It’s logical to see a specialist when you have specific health problems, so it makes sense to see a psychiatrist when you’re struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues.
Take your free mental health assessment.
Your results will help determine which type of support you may benefit from the most.
Meet with a top doctor, get an official diagnosis and prescription treatment plan.
Sit back and have your prescription delivered to your door.
Who Can Prescribe Anti-Anxiety Medication?
In general, any physician or psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety medication.
However, you must see a doctor in person for anxiety medications that are classified as controlled substances. Online doctors cannot prescribe benzodiazepines, such as Xanax.
That said, online doctors can prescribe antidepressants, which are the first line of treatment for anxiety and have been proven to be highly effective. They also have less side effects and risk factors than benzodiazepines.
Can a Regular Doctor Prescribe Anxiety Medication?
Yes, a regular doctor can prescribe anxiety medication (with the caveat that some medications must be prescribed in person and can’t be prescribed with online or phone visits).
Related: Get Anxiety Treatment Online
Can an Online Doctor Prescribe Xanax?
No, Xanax is a controlled substance and must be prescribed by a doctor that you see in person. However, online doctors can prescribe other anxiety medications, such as antidepressants.
Can You Ask a Doctor for a Specific Medication?
Yes, it never hurts to ask your doctor if they think a specific medication would help you. Explain how you heard of it, and why you think it may help your anxiety. That said, the doctor may decide not to prescribe you that medication.
You should be open to the idea that a medication that you’ve heard of or that you know works for somebody else may not be the right choice for you.
Have an open discussion with your doctor about the risks, benefits, and potential side effects of any medication you’re considering and listen to the doctors suggestions carefully.
What Can I Take Over the Counter for Anxiety?
Unfortunately, there are no over the counter medications currently approved to treat anxiety. There are many vitamins and supplements on the market that claim to help, but there is limited evidence to support such claims.
How Will the Doctor Diagnose My Anxiety?
You will discuss your symptoms with the doctor: what they are, how they interfere with your life, and how long you’ve been struggling with them.
The doctor will then likely perform a psychological evaluation and compare your symptoms to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Related: Take Our Anxiety Quiz
With that information, your doctor will diagnose you with a specific type of anxiety and recommend a medication to help treat your symptoms.
Can Doctors Prescribe Medicine Over the Phone?
Yes, doctors can prescribe any medication during a phone appointment that is not classified as a controlled substance by the FDA (some states have laws that require video appointments).
Antidepressants can help control anxiety and can be prescribed after a phone or video appointment with a doctor.
However, benzodiazepines like Xanax are controlled substances that you can only get a prescription for by seeing a doctor or psychiatrist in person.
For as little as your regular copay, you can talk to a board certified doctor about your symptoms.
If they feel it’s appropriate, the doctor can send an electronic prescription for a non-controlled anxiety medication to your local pharmacy, where you can pick it up as soon as it’s filled.
Take steps now to start controlling your anxiety. Talk to a trusted PlushCare doctor today!
Read More About Anxiety Treatment
Please Note: PlushCare does not have online psychiatrists at this time. That said, our primary care physicians are able to prescribe mental health medications such as antidepressants, and if necessary can provide you with a referral to a psychiatrist.