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Amy is a Board Certified Family Health Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with over 15 years of experience working in Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care and Primary Care practices. Amy graduated Thomas Jefferson University with high distinction earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2010 and a Post Master's Certificate in Adult Gerontology Acute Care (AGAC) in 2014. She was recognized by the Elite American Nurses Association in 2013 for her dedication, achievements and leadership in the field Nursing. She served as a clinical preceptor for a number of Nurse Practitioner students and enjoys teaching the bright minds of future NPs.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety is the most common mental illness in the US as it affects 40 million adults yearly- 19.1% of the population! However, only 36.9% of those 40 million adults are receiving treatments for their anxiety disorder!
Getting medication for your anxiety can be tough, but we have pulled together this guide to help you. Follow the advice below to discover how you can reach out and access support to help with your anxiety.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Anxiety Medication?
- Talk to Your Doctor
- Talk to Your Psychiatrist
- Try Telehealth
- How Can DrHouse Help You?
- Key Takeaways
How to Get Anxiety Medication?
Today, anxiety medications are much safer and more effective than they were 30 years ago. This could be why so many more people are turning to anxiety medications today as prescriptions for anxiety medication are up by 34%.
So, if you want to access anxiety medication, here is what you need to do.
Anxiety medications can only be prescribed to you by a licensed healthcare professional. This includes your local doctor, a psychiatrist, or a physician. Anxiety medications should not be purchased online or over a drug store counter as they could potentially be dangerous and unregulated – so it’s much safer for you to get your medication through a trained health provider.
Talk to Your Doctor
This step may seem obvious but it’s the first you need to take in your journey toward accessing the right medication for you. This is because your doctor is your primary healthcare provider and will need to diagnose you with a specific anxiety disorder.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are several different types of anxiety disorders. These include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Phobia-Related Disorders
Talking to your doctor about your symptoms will help them diagnose you with the right anxiety disorder. This will make it easier for them to prescribe the correct anxiety medication to help with your needs.
So, talk openly with your doctor about your symptoms. Go in with prepared specific examples of them and how they affect your daily life. You should also take a look at your medical and family history to see if other members of your family have received treatment for anxiety or if you yourself have already had treatment for anxiety in the past.
After this, your doctor can do one of two things – they can either prescribe you your anti-anxiety medication immediately or they can refer you to a specialist in anxiety disorders.
Talk to Your Psychiatrist
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), psychiatrists are healthcare providers who specialize specifically in mental health. As a result, your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist as their specialization will help you receive a more clear diagnosis and better access to the right forms of treatment.
You don’t have to wait to be referred by a doctor to see a psychiatrist – you can skip them and reach out directly if you want to talk to a specialist about your anxiety.
Once you meet your psychiatrist, you will have a conversation just like the one you had with the doctor. They will ask you about your symptoms, your medical history, and your family’s medical history to get a better picture of your situation overall. You will undergo a psychiatric evaluation which includes the following steps:
- Paperwork – Before your evaluation, you will be required to sign some forms giving your consent for the treatment. These will be stored in your medical history,
- Risk Assessment – Your psychiatrist will perform an immediate assessment to see if you are in need of immediate treatment and intervention. Basically, they will assess you to see if you are a risk to yourself or others and act accordingly.
- Interview – This is part of the evaluation when your psychiatrist will ask you questions about your symptoms and background.
- Self-Evaluation – Not all psychiatrists will request you complete this step but some may ask you to fill in a questionnaire or answer a written test. Don’t worry, there are no right or wrong answers – they’re just there to get your feelings and symptoms down on paper.
- Additional Tests – Some psychiatrists may request you to undergo other tests. This includes tests like blood work, memory tests, or cognitive aptitude tests to help rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.
After your evaluation, your psychiatrist will be able to give you a formal diagnosis and use this to draw up a specialized treatment plan that is personalized to your needs. You may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or something else – either way, your psychiatrist will be able to give you a detailed description of your condition, outline your goals for improvement, and explain to you the different routes of treatment available to you.
You may not be prescribed medication immediately and are recommended to try other types of treatment (like therapy) instead. This is because some medications used to treat anxiety disorders can be addictive or are linked to an increased risk of suicide. Because of these risks, some psychiatrists would recommend you try other less risky treatments first. So, it may be that you can treat your anxiety without the use of medication at all!
If you feel that you want to talk to someone about your anxiety but prefer not to go into a doctor’s office, then telehealth may be the right option for you. Telehealth is a form of healthcare where patients can speak to health professionals through video calls or phone calls from the comfort of their own homes. This makes it easier for those who don’t have access to healthcare professionals in their area or for those who want a little bit more privacy.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
DrHouse is a telehealth platform where you can see an online doctor on demand, whenever you need! With our telehealth app, you can get help for your anxiety from anywhere you are and you can see a clinician in as little as 15 minutes!
Our team of experienced doctors is available 24/7 and can provide advice, write prescriptions or refer you to a specialist if needed. So, if you’re looking for a way to get help for your anxiety without ever leaving the house, DrHouse is here!
So, in the US, the only way to get effective anxiety medication is to have it prescribed to you by a licensed healthcare provider. This can be your local doctor or physician, an online doctor, or you can seek out a specialized psychiatrist instead.
To get this prescription, you will need to visit your healthcare provider of choice and undergo an assessment or evaluation. After this, they will talk with you about the goals of your treatment and what types they want you to undergo. This may include taking medication – or not! There are other methods of treatment available for certain types of anxiety disorders and your psychiatrist will talk them through with you so you can understand them better.
And that’s it – we hope this guide has helped you out! Remember, don’t be afraid or nervous; reach out to your healthcare provider, and soon, you will receive the treatment you need!
- Anxiety Disorders – Facts & Statistics. Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Available from: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics
- Farach FJ, Pruitt LD, Jun JJ, Jerud AB, Zoellner LA, Roy-Byrne PP. Pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders: current treatments and future directions. J Anxiety Disord. 2012 Dec;26(8):833-43. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2012.07.009
- America’s State of Mind Report. Express scripts. Available from: https://www.express-scripts.com/corporate/americas-state-of-mind-report
- Anxiety Disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Available from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders
- What is Psychiatry? American Psychiatric Association. Available from: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-psychiatry
- Dodds TJ. Prescribed Benzodiazepines and Suicide Risk: A Review of the Literature. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2017 Mar 2;19(2). doi: https://www.doi.org/10.4088/PCC.16r02037
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