What type of doctor deals with anxiety and depression

However, you might still want to consult your physician, especially if you have a long history with that person. Be aware, however, that most physicians, because they specialize in various aspects of physical health, have very little training in the area of anxiety disorders.

What training they do have, with respect to overcoming anxiety, is usually limited to medications. They may often be surprisingly unaware of cognitive behavioral treatment for anxiety disorders, even though it is generally regarded as the treatment of choice.

Doctors Who Treat Anxiety

When it comes time to seek professional help for overcoming anxiety disorders, you will probably need to go elsewhere. If you don't have panic attacks or generalized anxiety, and have no other reason to consult your physician about overcoming anxiety, then skip ahead to Step Three. Before you call for an appointment, make some written notes of what you want to discuss with your physician. The doctor's staff will probably ask you why you want an appointment; tell them that you've been having some problems and summarize them, briefly.

Many people have a fear of doctors, and have trouble making an appointment. This is a phobia, and will generally respond to the same CBT approach, once you decide that a visit to the doctor, however anxiety provoking, is in your best interest. Your physician should listen to your symptoms, review your history, ask questions, and offer feedback and recommendations for overcoming anxiety. However, your physician should take your complaints seriously, evaluate them, and offer suggestions for finding additional help.

If you are having panic attacks and have never been tested for thyroid malfunction, for instance, you should receive such a test, because thyroid problems can sometimes cause a person to have panic-like symptoms.


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If your symptoms resemble those associated with mitral valve prolapse, you should probably have an echocardiogram to evaluate that possibility. There are numerous physical conditions which can produce panic symptoms, and your physician should evaluate you for those possibilities if that has never been done before.

However, if you have had those tests before, and your doctor assured you that you were in good health, do not push for continual retesting!

Many people do this because they hate the idea that they may have an anxiety disorder, and instead hope to find a physical problem. You can waste lots of time and money this way. One set of tests is generally enough. If you need a second opinion for a particular reason, then get one.

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If you get more than two sets of tests, seriously consider the possibility that you are getting diverted from your task of overcoming anxiety! Let's suppose that you've had a good consultation with your physician, the appropriate tests have ruled out any physical ailments which could be causing your symptoms, and you want to get professional help with overcoming anxiety.

Now you're ready for step three. There are basically two kinds of treatment which clinical research has shown to be effective in overcoming anxiety disorders: Other forms of psychotherapy are often helpful in resolving some of the issues associated with anxiety disorders, but are generally not regarded as capable of resolving the primary problem.

Which form of treatment should you choose? My view is that most people with anxiety disorders are best served by trying a cognitive behavioral treatment first, and seeing what kind of results you get from that.

Health Providers Who Treat Anxiety Disorders

You can always try medication later, if the CBT doesn't provide all the results you seek. There are three principal reasons to try CBT first. First, unlike medication, CBT has no side effects. Second, the use of medications tends to lead a person to believe that he or she is now "protected" from anxiety disorders, and the sense of being protected often leads an anxiety sufferer to feel more vulnerable in the long run.

Third, the results you get from CBT treatment will generally be much more long lasting than those you get from medications. Results from medication treatments tend to fade after the medications are withdrawn. Some patients will need medication in addition to CBT, and some will not, depending on the severity of their condition and their particular diagnosis. Medication is nothing to be avoided if it seems necessary. However, I do believe it's true that in our culture, medications are overprescribed for these problems.

This can be avoided if you start with CBT first. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America website includes an overview of medications used to treat anxiety disorders. To read about CBT and some of its various forms, click here. You may be wondering if you really need to see a professional, or if you can't just solve this problem on your own. In general, the more difficulty you are having, the more you may need professional help, but only you can decide how urgent your need is.


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  • Certainly there are many good sources of self help information you can use in overcoming anxiety disorders. If you choose to try anxiety self help, I suggest you follow a few guidelines. They don't have to be an expert.

    Mental health professionals are your best bet

    A major benefit is that, by telling someone of your efforts, you will find it easier to monitor your progress and hold yourself accountable. It's easy to forget about all your good intentions when you keep them to yourself. Find a good self help book which pertains to your problem, and make that the basis of your work. If you have panic attacks and like the approach you find on this website, then try my Panic Attacks Workbook. If your problem is more about chronic worry, take a look at my book for chronic worriers, The Worry Trick.

    After six months, re-evaluate your progress. If you're satisfied you're making reasonable progress toward overcoming anxiety, continue on course. If you're not, consider seeking professional help at that time. Among the advantages of group treatment for overcoming anxiety are lower cost and the opportunity to share experiences with others who can relate to your situation.

    This can be particularly important for people who feel especially ashamed and imagine that they are one of a very few who suffer in this way. I don't really think there are any disadvantages to a well run group treatment, although many people shy away from it because they believe they would pick up more fears from hearing other people's problems. In my experience in running groups, this has not been a problem and, while people are usually quite nervous before the first meeting, their anxiety is usually much lower by the end of the meeting.

    Group treatments are often not available, so consider yourself fortunate if they are offered in your area. Your own personal preference is probably the most important deciding factor in the choice between group and individual treatment. More than one in 10 Americans take antidepressants, the number one type of medication used by people ages 18 to Learn more about how these drugs work.

    Find out more about medication.

    Who Treats Anxiety?

    Members of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America who specialize in anxiety disorders and depression have provided descriptions of their practices in find a therapist. ADAA is not a direct service organization. ADAA does not provide psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. ADAA Disclaimer. For the Public For Professionals. Breadcrumb Understand the Facts Depression.

    Bringing it up: 13 tips for talking with your physician about depression

    Treating Depression and Anxiety Disorders Often depression and an anxiety disorder can be treated similarly. Taking Other Steps Consider joining a support group. Try relaxation techniques, meditation, and breathing exercises. Talk with family members and friends and explain how they can be helpful. Your therapist may recommend self-help materials. Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Choosing a Therapist Members of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America who specialize in anxiety disorders and depression have provided descriptions of their practices in find a therapist.

    Find out how to choose a therapist. FAQs Do I have an anxiety disorder?