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Talking to Your Doctor About Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

A treatment plan should be based on your health and wellness goals. Talk to your doctor honestly about your concerns with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and treatment. An active role in your care will help to reach best outcomes.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will help:

  • 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. This will make sure so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. Repeat important information back to the doctor to make sure you understand.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions. Ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About GAD

  • Tell your doctor about your constant worry and tension. Share unexplained aches and pains or trouble sleeping.
  • Tell your doctor if these problems keep you from doing everyday things and living your life.
  • Ask for a checkup to check for other illnesses.
  • Ask your doctor if they have helped other people with GAD. Special training helps doctors treat people with GAD. If your doctor doesn't have special training, ask for the name of a doctor or counselor who does.

About Treatment Options

  • What treatment options are available for GAD?
  • If your doctor 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 GAD?
  • You can talk to a counselor before you begin treatment. This will help you find a counselor whom you feel comfortable with. Feel free to ask about:
    • Their training and experience in treating anxiety disorders
    • Their 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 doctor or counselor about lifestyle changes that could help you reduce your anxiety and stress symptoms. Examples may include:

  • Diet
  • Caffeine and caffeinated drinks such as teas or sodas
  • Alcohol use
  • Energy drinks and workout supplements
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Relaxation and stress management techniques
  • Exercise
  • Vitamins and supplements

About Your Outlook

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

Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Accessed January 13, 2020.

Generalized anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/generalized-anxiety-disorder. Accessed January 13, 2020.

Hahn RK, Reist C, et al. Psychiatry. Laguna Hills, CA: Current Clinical Strategies Publishing; 2006.

Last reviewed May 2020 by Adrian Preda, MD  Last Updated: 7/29/2020