Can A Family Care Doctor Treat Anxiety?

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Periodic feelings of anxiety are normal for patients of all ages, health, and backgrounds. But when it starts to interfere with your daily life, who can you turn to for help? Seeking mental healthcare can be an intimidating process, with long wait times and insurance policies to navigate. You might be surprised to learn, then, that your family doctor can help. Although family care physicians aren't a full substitute for psychiatric care, your doctor can work to relieve your anxiety in the following ways. 

Ruling Out Lifestyle Factors

Usually, anxiety reflects stressful events happening in your life. That might include a new job, an illness in the family, or financial troubles. At other times, anxiety could stem from a poor sleep schedule, recreational drug use, or inadequate diet. Your doctor may start by asking questions about your lifestyle and recent history to learn more about the root of the problem. It's better to be honest, even when dealing with uncomfortable subjects, to help your physician understand the situation.

Checking for Underlying Issues

Increased anxiety may point to physical problems as well. Your body constantly monitors itself and sends feedback to your brain. If something isn't right, or your hormones become unbalanced, that sense can manifest as an uneasy feeling. Conditions like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and asthma all have the potential to trigger anxiety attacks. They might be the first symptom to manifest, and catching any of these conditions quickly makes treatment easier, which is why it's a good idea to see a doctor soon.

Prescribing Anti-Anxiety Medications

For cases like generalized anxiety disorder, your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication. These prescriptions help reduce symptoms of anxiety and can improve your daily functioning. However, they are often not a long-term solution, and they sometimes carry unwanted side effects. To truly deal with chronic anxiety, you will likely benefit from the next step.

Referring You to a Psychiatrist

Although family care physicians can treat and assist you with managing anxiety, more advanced cases should also be seen by a specialist. Your doctor will be able to make recommendations and referrals on your behalf to ensure you find a helpful and available psychiatrist. Psychiatrists explore the sources of anxiety in greater depth and come up with strategies to reduce it over time. Contact your family care doctor today to start learning more about your anxiety, its causes, and the potential treatment paths available to you.