How to approach your GP
Signs and Symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder
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A good relationship with the healthcare professionals you meet can make a big difference to the success of your treatment and to your general wellbeing. If you can talk honestly and openly, the healthcare professionals you deal with will be better able to prescribe a programme of treatment and care that's best for you. This is true for all conditions, but especially so for GAD, since a lot of treatments revolve around talking openly about your feelings.
Because there is often a lot to cover during your initial GP appointment, it's a good idea to be well prepared. It can be helpful to think about a few things ahead of time and write down some notes to take with you including:
Your appointment time with your doctor is limited. Preparing a list of questions may help you to remember everything you want to discuss. You may want to ask:
Is this really Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
It’s important to make sure your symptoms are due to GAD and not another condition. GAD is often accompanied by other problems such as depression, other anxiety disorders or substance abuse. For treatment to succeed, it’s important to get help for all of the problems you’re dealing with. The healthcare professionals you meet are trained in making accurate diagnoses and will help you get appropriate treatment.
How long will the treatment(s) take to work?
This depends on the treatment in question. Some of the medications can improve symptoms quickly while others can take 2-4 weeks to show any effect. Many of the psychological therapies can take a few weeks to show any improvement.
What if I don’t feel better?
If you don’t feel better you should go back to your doctor to discuss other options. Don’t give up as there are options out there to suit every one. Ask your GP about the services that are available in your area.
What are my treatment options?
Before you begin any form of treatment, your GP should discuss all your options with you, outlining the pros and cons of each, while also making you aware of any possible risks or side-effects. You and your GP will make a joint decision about which treatment is most suited for you, taking into account your circumstances and preferences.
Do some medications have side-effects, and if so what are they?
Though generally well tolerated, all GAD treatments may cause side effects in some people.
What relaxation techniques might help?
There are a range of different relaxation techniques that you might find useful. Progressive muscle relaxation can help you release tension and take ‘time out’ from your worries. The technique involves systematically tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body. As your body relaxes, your mind will follow. Other techniques include deep breathing and meditation.
What talking therapy / IAPT services are available locally?
This depends on where you live in the UK, as the way these services are offered varies from place to place. Your GP, as well as local and national support groups will be able to give you more information on the services in your area.
Are there local support groups I can join?
This depends on where you live in the UK. Your GP and Anxiety UK will be able to advise you on the local support groups that exist in your area. Don’t forget that online support groups are a really convenient resource.
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Pfizer life is brought to you by Pfizer limited. SHS077 Date of preparation May 2013.
The information provided on this site is intended for general information and education and is not intended to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional
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