Family doctors treat a wide range of common ailments. Under certain circumstances, this includes mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Your family doctor will discuss your symptoms with you to determine if they may be related to an underlying physiological condition. If you are having severe or more complicated symptoms, he or she may refer you to a psychiatrist or other mental health specialist.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety Disorder falls into 5 subcategories: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Panic Disorder.
Broadly, anxiety can be described as a feeling of nervousness, fear, or unease. Some anxiety is completely normal and even expected in life. When these feelings persist, however, they can significantly interfere with your quality of life. You may find yourself withdrawing from activities you used to enjoy, or have difficulty meeting workplace demands. It is important to seek treatment before your symptoms have a permanent impact on your life and relationships.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety will vary depending on the type, but many patients report the following:
- Rapid breathing and heartbeat (especially during a panic attack)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Habitually canceling plans
- Feelings of restlessness
- Stomach discomfort, nausea
- Sleep disturbances
These are just a few of the more common symptoms associated with anxiety in general. Again, however, the symptoms you experience can vary significantly depending on your particular type of anxiety and triggers.
When To Talk to Your Doctor About Anxiety
If you are experiencing persistent symptoms of anxiety, your first step should be your family doctor. He or she can help you determine a potential source of the anxiety and what treatments may be indicated. In some cases, the anxiety you are feeling may be related to a physical illness. The following health issues, for example, often present similarly to anxiety:
- Endocrine issues
- Cardiac issues
- Thyroid issues
- GI tract conditions
- Respiratory illnesses
Your family doctor will perform a physical exam and a thorough history to determine if further testing is required to rule out another underlying cause of your symptoms.
Will My Family Doctor Prescribe Medication for Anxiety?
If your family physician is familiar with mental health disorders and determines that your symptoms are consistent with non-complicated anxiety, he or she may prescribe medication to help ease your symptoms. Your doctor will also likely refer you to a clinical psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist to work with you while you are on the medication.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms or your symptoms appear to be related to a more complicated mental health disorder, your family physician may refer you to a specialist before prescribing medication. A mental health specialist will help determine what type of therapy will be most appropriate for your specific symptoms. In some cases, traditional treatments may prove ineffective in the long term, in which case a specialist can also help you seek out alternative therapies.
Family Doctor Destin FL
Dr. Timothy Tuel is a board certified family physician at the Crane Center in Destin, FL. He is well-versed in mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, and can help you begin the path to recovery. If your quality of life is being affected by anxiety or another mental health disorder, please contact our office or go online to schedule an appointment.