You may start by seeing your primary care provider to find out if your anxiety could be related to your physical health. He or she can check for signs of an underlying medical condition that may need treatment.
However, you may need to see a mental health specialist if you have severe anxiety. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. A psychologist and certain other mental health professionals can diagnose anxiety and provide counseling (psychotherapy).To help diagnose an anxiety disorder, your mental health provider may: ● Give you a psychological evaluation. This involves discussing your thoughts, feelings and behavior to help pinpoint a diagnosis and check for related complications. Anxiety disorders often occur along with other mental health problems — such as depression or substance misuse — which can make diagnosis more challenging. ● Compare your symptoms to the criteria in the DSM-5. Many doctors use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose an anxiety disorder.
The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.
Also known as talk therapy or psychological counseling, psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. It can be an effective treatment for anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you've avoided because of anxiety.
CBT includes exposure therapy, in which you gradually encounter the object or situation that triggers your anxiety so you build confidence that you can manage the situation and anxiety symptoms.
Several types of medications are used to help relieve symptoms, depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have and whether you also have other mental or physical health issues.
- Certain antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety disorders.
- An anti-anxiety medication called buspirone may be prescribed.
- In limited circumstances, your doctor may prescribe other types of
- medications, such as sedatives, also called benzodiazepines, or beta
- blockers. These medications are for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms
- and are not intended to be used long term