Monday, April 15, 2024

How To Ask Your Doctor For Anxiety Medication

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Start When You Are Ready

Doing your research will help greatly. Now that you know the answers to your questions, you have a pretty clear picture of how things will be once you are medicating. If you dont feel ready for it yet, take your time. You must be in the proper mindset when you begin taking your medicine. Being ready will help your journey to become better a more pleasant one.

Can A Regular Doctor Prescribe Anxiety Medication

If any medical doctor believes that what youre experiencing is generalized anxiety, theyll likely prescribe you an anxiety medication. Antidepressants are often prescribed to those struggling with anxiety. In addition to medication, the doctor may encourage you to seek help through therapy or counseling. 

If they suspect that you are dealing with something more complicated, they may refer you to a psychiatrist who can conduct a more in-depth investigation of your symptoms. For those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder or OCD, this can be incredibly helpful. Theyll not only find a medication that works for specific mental health conditions, but they can help patients work through trauma and teach them coping mechanisms as well.

Considerations And Precautions Of Benzodiazepines For Anxiety

Benzodiazepines have potential for abuse and addiction. In some cases they can actually make anxiety and depression worse.

Benzodiazepines work by slowing down the nervous system both mentally and physically. This can have unwanted side effects as motor and cognitive skills are impaired.

Taking these medications with other prescription and recreational drugs can be life threatening and lead to death.

Overdose is possible.

Talk to a doctor about your mental and physical health, as well as your medical history and symptoms to see if this class of medication is right for you.

How Is Anxiety Diagnosed

When it comes to diagnosing anxiety, many people try to self-diagnose.  Its an understandable impulse, but only a clinical evaluation can diagnose an anxiety disorder. 

The first thing you should do if you think you may have an anxiety disorder is to check in with your primary care doctor. Generally, your family practitioner will want to rule out any physical ailments that could be causing your anxiety.  If youre deficient in specific vitamins or minerals, for example, a potential symptom could be anxiety. 

Once theyve cleared your physical health, theyll likely ask you a series of questions and have you fill out a mental health questionnaire. Its best to answer honestly. Without the correct information, they wont be able to help you move forward. 

Stay In Touch With Your Doctor

12 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your Anxiety

Mental health medications arenât 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 youre 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. 

Special Benzodiazepine Risk Factors

Anyone who takes benzodiazepines can experience unpleasant or dangerous side effects. But certain individuals are at a higher risk:

People over 65. Older adults are more sensitive to the sedating effects of benzodiazepines. Even small doses can cause confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. Benzodiazepine use in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of falls, broken hips and legs, and car accidents. Long-term benzodiazepine use also increases the risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.

People with a history of substance abuse. Because theyre physically addicting and on their own and dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs, anyone with a current or former substance abuse problem should use benzodiazepines only with extreme caution.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can lead to dependence in the developing baby, with withdrawal following birth. Benzodiazepines are also excreted in breast milk. Therefore, pregnant women need to have a thorough discussion about the risks and benefits of these medications with their prescribing doctor. If medication is necessary, the goal is the smallest effective dose.

The connection between benzodiazepines and accidents

What Do I Tell My Doctor To Get Anxiety Medication

Things to tell your doctor

Write down any major stresses in your life, as well as any traumas youve experienced, both past and present. Write down all of your health conditions: mental and physical. Make a list of all medications and supplements youre taking. Include how much you take and how often.

How To Know If You Have Anxiety

Itâs that sinking in your stomach that feels like a heavyweight, the endless circle of troublesome thoughts and not forgetting that super-fast pumping heart rate. Perhaps this sounds all too familiar, extreme anxiety symptoms arenât just present in our minds, but also show physical signs and can take their toll on your general health.

At some point or another, everyone experiences high anxiety symptoms in their lifetime. In fact, to some degree, itâs an expected and usual response to events such as changing jobs, moving house, or financial difficulties. If youâre wondering how common it is, the World Health Organization estimates one in every 13 people worldwide experience anxiety. Itâs often explained as worrying about something that has not occurred yet, or something which may never happen, whereas depression is often linked to past events . The two are very different conditions and often overlap.

When anxiety symptoms start to take over and impact your day-to-day living, it could be symptomatic of an anxiety disorder. Itâs a good idea to understand your symptoms and where they are coming from so you can get on top of it. Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, but keep your eyes peeled for these six key signs.

Sleep Disturbances And Fatigue

Irritability And Agitation

Social Avoidance

Muscle Tension

Panic Attacks

A Foggy Mind

Can Online Doctors Prescribe Benzodiazepines

No. Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, are classified as controlled substances and cannot be prescribed online under any circumstances.

These medications have high potential for abuse, addiction and other dangerous risk factors. Therefor, you must meet with a doctor or psychiatrist in-person for ongoing medication management.

Even though PlushCare is unable to prescribe Benzodiazepines, we still want to inform you of their uses for anxiety treatment.

Using Medication To Manage Anxiety

There are lots of ways to manage anxiety, including cognitive behavioral therapywhich focuses on finding and changing negative thoughtsas well as mindfulness and stress management strategies.

Your doctor or psychiatrist may also recommend anxiety medication. Almost 12 percent of adults in the U.S. take prescription medication for problems with emotions, nerves, or mental health, according to a research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2017. Women are twice as likely as men to take these meds.

There are four different categories of anti-anxiety medicine: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , benzodiazepines, and tricyclic antidepressants. These medications can also treat other conditions, like depression.

In addition, other medications are used off-label to treat anxiety. This means they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat anxiety symptoms, but doctors may prescribe them anyway.

For example, beta-blockers, which are drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions, are sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety.

Beta-blockers, such as propranolol and atenolol , can block physical anxiety symptoms, such as a racing heart or sweating. They are sometimes prescribed to treat short-term symptoms due to stage fright or social anxiety.

Here are the four main categories of anti-anxiety medications:

How To Get Prescribed Xanax

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You may have heard Xanax is a good drug to use for anxiety and other disorders. That much is true. However, most doctors will not readily hand out prescriptions for this drug because it does come with some problems. Therefore, you will need to convince your doctor that you actually need the drug, mainly by showing that you have an anxiety disorder.

Questions About The Doctor’s Overall Approach

You and your doctor should jivenot like, you need to hang out on weekends or anything, but it’s good to get a sense of their treatment style and how they feel about holistic approaches.

Will you support me if I decide to stop this medication, or decide to not use medication?

What other treatments and strategies do you recommend I try before using medication?

If this medication does not improve symptoms, what would you recommend next?

What is your approach to medication? Do you try one at a time? Do you use multiple medications at once?

Method 1 Of 3:seeking Medical Attention

Doctors Who Treat Anxiety

  • 1Visit your doctor. The first step in getting anxiety medication is going to see your doctor. Start with your primary physician to get a physical. Your physician will determine if you have an underlying medical cause for the anxiety.
  • When you go to your doctor, you should be honest about your symptoms. Tell your doctor about your anxieties and what your general mood has been lately.XResearch source
  • After you receive a diagnosis from either your doctor, you can begin discussing medication and other treatment options.
  • 2Get a referral to a mental health professional. After seeing a doctor, you may be referred to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. This may be the case if you have an anxiety disorder that needs specific treatments, like therapy, in addition to medication.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
  • You may be referred to a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, occupational therapist, or social worker.
  • The mental health professional will discuss various topics with you, like your life, support system, and previous treatments. They may ask very personal questions, but try to answer them openly and honestly.XResearch sourcePadam Bhatia, MD. Psychiatrist. Personal interview. 12 May 2020.
  • Are There Over The Counter Anxiety Medications

    Technically speaking, there are no over-the-counter medications available specifically for anxiety. That said, several remedies are available without a prescription that can help those struggling with anxiety or depression. 

    Supplements like GABA, Ashwagandha, or Valerian Root have been shown in some cases to be helpful. Be sure to talk with your doctor before adding a supplement, as there could be potential interactions with your current prescriptions. 

    Natural options such as CBD have been growing more and more popular over the last several years. Aromatic oils, like lavender, chamomile, and peppermint, have shown promise as well. Staying away from caffeine and excessive sugar can lower anxiety levels. Foods like nuts and healthy fats from fish or avocados are great foods for those with anxiety disorders.

    Theres no reason to suffer through anxiety alone. If youre interested in anxiety medication then asking a doctor for anxiety medication is the next step.

    Serotonin And Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors

    If SSRIs don’t help ease your anxiety, you may be prescribed a different type of antidepressant known as a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor .

    This type of medicine increases the amount of serotonin and noradrenaline in your brain.

    Examples of SNRIs you may be prescribed include:

    • insomnia
    • sweating

    SNRIs can also increase your blood pressure, so your blood pressure will be monitored regularly during treatment.

    As with SSRIs, some of the side effects are more common in the first 1 or 2 weeks of treatment, but these usually settle as your body adjusts to the medication.

    Anxiety Makes The Medication Decision Difficult

    The very nature of anxiety disorders complicates any type of decision. When it comes to a complex issue like whether to take medication, anxiety can be almost paralyzing. There’s a great deal of uncertainty regarding anxiety medication, and uncertainty contributes to more anxiety

    Simply listing the pros and cons of taking medication isn’t so simple when interferes with every thought, feeling, and action. Worries, what-ifs, and worst-case scenarios disrupt the thought process. Anxiety can create caveats or yes-buts to any straightforward list of medication advantages, and it can do the same to the disadvantages. 

    You can break out of the decision-making loop that anxiety has you trapped in by understanding what, exactly, is happening under the surface of all those medication worries and fears. Anxiety is all about judgment. It makes us evaluate almost everything we encounter around us and within us. Will medication be good? Bad? Helpful? Harmful? What if it doesn’t help? What if it helps, but the side-effects are intolerable? What will people think? Am I weak for needing medication? Am I strong because I’m doing something about anxiety? 

    Everyone has their own unique concerns about anxiety medication. The common theme, though, is anxiety’s habit of making us judge everything we do or don’t do or might or might not do. 

    Asking About Anxiety Treatment

    There are no quick fixes for anxiety, but effective treatment is available. The two most common treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy and prescription medicine. Oftentimes, therapy and medication are combined. Ask your doctor which treatment approach she recommends for you. Many people start with talk therapy; however, if your symptoms are severe, your doctor may advise starting medication first. 

    If your doctor recommends therapy, ask her to recommend nearby providers who specialize in treating anxiety. 

    If your doctor prescribes medication, be sure to:

    • Learn the name of the medication.

    • Ask about potential side effects. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking anxiety medication, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Ask for the number to call.

    • Ask your doctor when you can expect to feel some relief, and what you should do if you begin to feel worse and not better.

    When you return for follow-up appointments, honestly share your experiences with your physician. Describe your current symptoms and talk about your response to treatment. Together, you and your doctor can create an effective anxiety management plan.

    You Feel Exhausted All The Time

    As Barton says, “Anxiety is extremely exhausting. It is not uncommon for individuals to feel very tired and depleted.” It can get so bad that you might even think you have depression, even though that’s the not the case.

    Whether your anxiety feels debilitating, or it’s simply holding you back, definitely consider medication as another way to feel better. It shouldn’t be your first choice, or the only treatment you use â especially since it can come with its own set of problems. But remember medication is out there, should you need it.

    Images: Pexels

    Figuring Out If You Have An Anxiety Disorder

    Anxiety disorders come in many forms. What I have is known as generalized anxiety disorder , which is marked by consistent, excessive worries that are difficult to control or stop. It affects about 6.8 million American adults and women are twice as likely as men to have it.

    Other types of anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Because anxiety has such a wide range of signs and symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose, according to Christen Sistrunk, a licensed professional counselor in Texas who specializes in treating anxiety disorders.

    The first step to evaluating whether you have anxiety is to figure out the type of anxiety you have and how it affects you, said Justin Baksh, chief clinical officer of Foundations Wellness Center in Port St. Lucie, Florida. For instance, maybe you feel it because you brain cant shut off. No matter how hard you try, your mind wanders into the future about finances, work, family issues, and so on, Baksh said.

    Or perhaps you experience more physical symptoms, like an upset stomach, digestive issues, sweaty palms, a constant uneasiness, heart palpitations or bouncing legs. Depending on the type of disorder, you could also experience specific fears, avoidance of social situations, shaking, dizziness, fear of losing control, a sense of unreality the list goes on.

    What Happens At The Doctor’s Office

    Worried about discussing your problem? The best approach is just to say, “I think I may have ED.” It’s unlikely your doctor will feel uncomfortable.

    If they have trouble talking about sexual issues with you, ask them to refer you to a urologist.

    The doctor will start by asking about your medical history. Theyâll do this to learn more about your symptoms, conditions, and what medicines youâre taking.

    The questions may seem personal. But it’s important to answer them fully and honestly. The doctor needs this information to know how to treat you.

    The questions may include:

    Signs You Should Talk With Your Doctor About Anxiety

    Ask the Doctor: How to Make the Most of Your Medication ...

    If youre concerned that you have issues with anxiety, take a moment to breathe. Know that theres nothing inherently wrong with you, and youre not alone.

    Almost everyone experiences feelings of anxiety at some point in life, whether its from public speaking, test-taking or even driving in traffic. Feelings of anxiety are common in stressful situations, but theyre usually temporary and resolve quickly.

    Anxiety disorders are different. You may have an anxiety disorder if feelings of intense fear or worry continue in situations that arent anxiety-inducing. If that sounds like you, again, dont be alarmed. More than 40 million American adults face anxiety disorders, and theyre highly treatable conditions. 

    Diagnostic Tests To Expect

    Unfortunately, there isn’t currently a definitive lab test that can be used to diagnose depression so your doctor will do a few things. First, your doctor will perform a physical exam and run several different blood tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing your symptoms. Some of the possible tests might include:

    • Complete blood count

    I Need Relief And I Need It Now

    So where does that leave you if youre suffering? Even when anxiety relief comes with side effects and dangers, that can still sound like a fair trade when panic and fear are ruling your life.

    The bottom line is that theres a time and place for anxiety medication. If you have severe anxiety thats interfering with your ability to function, medication may be helpfulespecially as a short-term treatment. However, many people use anti-anxiety medication when therapy, exercise, or other self-help strategies would work just as well or better, minus the drawbacks.

    Anxiety medications can ease symptoms, but theyre not right for everyone and theyre not the only answer. Its up to you to evaluate your options and decide whats best for you.

    The Decision To Begin Or Change Anxiety Medication Is Complicated

    Anxiety medications are quite complex. There are a variety of classifications, and different people respond differently to each one. Something that works great for one person might not work at all, or may even worsen anxiety, for someone else.

    Because anxiety medication is so complex, its important to discuss options openly with your doctor. Professional input is essential in the decision to begin or alter medication. At the same time, its equally important that you feel that you have a say in the decision; after all, its your brain and your body that are impacted by anxiety and anxiety medication.

    When you take time to gather your thoughts and organize your experiences prior to an appointment, you can work alongside your doctor to make informed medication decisions.

    Path To Improved Health

    Sometimes it can be hard to start a conversation with your doctor about your mental health. Here are some tips that can help you before, during, and after your appointment.

    Before your appointment:

  • Set reasonable goals for the appointment. Diagnosing and treating mental illness takes time. If you set a goal of having your symptoms go away immediately, you will likely be disappointed. Instead, set a few reasonable goals. These could include explaining your symptoms to your doctor, learning a possible diagnosis, and coming up with a treatment plan.
  • Write down important information. Take some time before your appointment to write down what youd like to talk about. This will help you make sure you dont forget anything when youre in the doctors office. Some things you can write down include:
    • Your symptoms. These could be physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral changes that youve noticed in your life.
    • How your mood affects your everyday life.
    • Key personal information, such as traumatic events in your past, or current stressful situations you are facing.
    • Your medical information, such as other physical or mental conditions you currently have. Also write down all medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter medicine and herbal supplements.
    • Questions you want to ask your doctor.

    During your appointment:

    After your appointment

    How To Know When Its Time To Take Medication For Anxiety

    Until a couple years ago, I didnt think I was an anxious person. On the outside, Im easygoing. Im adventurous, spontaneous and social. Im not afraid of flying, public speaking or crowds.

    But throughout my entire life, I have worried, silently and constantly, about almost everything. Ive worried about possibilities that I knew, deep down, werent at all rational. Ive always feared that worst-case scenarios would come true even though they hardly ever do.

    I didnt realize that these thoughts stemmed from mental illness. Since I never had full-on panic attacks, I didnt think that I had anxiety. I thought it was normal to feel this way. I thought I was fine that is, until I went on anti-anxiety medication at 29 years old. And it changed my life.

    Little did I know, I was one of the 40 million Americans adults dealing with an anxiety disorder about 18% of the population. And up until last year, I was also part of the majority of people with anxiety who dont receive treatment.

    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. 

    What To Ask Your Doctor Before Taking Anxiety Medication

    If you have anxiety, its a good idea to tell your doctor, because anxiety is treatable, says Dr. Dubovsky. If your doctor recommends a medication, then ask the following questions, suggests the ADAA:

    • Will this medication interact with any other medication, over-the-counter drug, or supplement Im taking?
    • What side effects can I expect and what should I do if I notice them?
    • How should I take this medication ?
    • How long will it take to start working?

    Anxiety can be a chronic or acute problem. Chronic anxiety often requires long-term treatment, says Dr. Dubovsky. Acute anxiety is a response to stress, and once that specific stress is over, then you may be able to stop the medication.

    Before you do that, however, talk to your doctor before stopping any . Sometimes patients will say that theyre feeling better, but maybe the thing that was helping them was the medication, says Gallagher.

    If you or someone you know has had thoughts of self-harm or, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline , which provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress.

    Home Remedies for Natural Anxiety Relief

    Everyday Things That Could Trigger Anxiety

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    Can Adhd Get Worse As I Age

    Unpacking Anxiety: How Therapy Can Help

    ADHD doesnt occur in a vacuum, explains Adler, and symptoms will change and flux over time. For women, can sometimes worsen ADHD, he says. Sometimes life changes, such as moving from a more structured to a less structured job, or being promoted and needing to manage others, will have an effect on ADHD symptoms. Or having a child diagnosed with ADHD and recognizing your own symptoms.

    For older adults with ADHD, the symptoms and presentation are slightly different, but theres not a huge amount of literature on the topic, Adler notes. With retirement, there is less structure, and symptoms may come forward. There is a small amount of literature showing that hyperactive-impulsive behavior may come forward again as people age. But you have to make sure its ADHD and not another cognitive disorder. If youre not sure whether you have ADHD or another condition, talk to your doctor. I think if individuals are worried that they have ADHD, they should make an appointment with their doctor and get evaluated, says Adler.

    Additional reporting by Jennifer DAngelo Friedman.

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