Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

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You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with generalized anxiety disorder. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

About Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Tell your healthcare provider about your constant worry and tension, or any other signs of generalized anxiety disorder, such as aches and pains for no reason, or trouble sleeping.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if these problems keep you from doing everyday things and living your life.
  • Ask for a checkup to check for other illnesses.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if he or she has helped other people with generalized anxiety disorder. Special training helps healthcare providers treat people with generalized anxiety disorder. If your healthcare provider doesn't have special training, ask for the name of a healthcare provider or counselor who does.

About Treatment Options

  • What treatment options are available for generalized anxiety disorder?
  • If your healthcare provider prescribes medicine, ask:
    • How long will it take to work?
    • What benefits can I expect?
    • What side effects should I watch for?
  • Can you recommend a counselor who treats people with generalized anxiety disorder?
  • If you decide to try counseling, interview counselors and find one with whom you feel comfortable discussing your problems. You should ask the counselor about:
    • His or her training and experience in treating anxiety disorders
    • His or her basic approach to treatment
    • The length of treatment
    • The length and frequency of treatment sessions
    • What health insurance is accepted
    • Fee schedules and sliding scale fees to accompany various financial circumstances

About Lifestyle Changes

Ask your healthcare provider or counselor about lifestyle changes that could help you reduce your anxiety and stress symptoms. Examples may include:

  • Diet
  • Caffeine and alcohol use
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Relaxation and stress management techniques
  • Exercise

About Your Outlook

  • What are my chances of recovering from generalized anxiety disorder with treatment? Without treatment?
  • Will I have a recurrence of generalized anxiety disorder and related conditions? What can I do to prevent these?

References

Anxiety Disorders Association of America website. Available at: http://www.adaa.org/.

Hahn RK, Reist C, Albers LJ. Psychiatry . 2006 ed. Laguna Hills, CA: Current Clinical Strategies Publishing; 2006.

National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/.



Last reviewed February 2007 by David Juan, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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