Don't be Afraid of the Doctor

How to Prepare for a Doctor's Appointment Addressing Your Anxiety

Anxiety is a scourge of the modern age, affecting around 1 in 5 Australians at some stage in their lifetimes. Although a great many people suffer with anxiety on a daily basis, this doesn't mean that it's an easy condition to live with. People who suffer from anxiety suffer on a spectrum. Some will have certain triggers for anxiety, such as social situations, whereas others will find it practically impossible to get through the day without having a panic attack.

If anxiety is something that you have been experiencing, seeing your GP about this is a very wise decision, but visiting the doctor and talking about mental health problems can be anxiety inducing in and of itself.

For this reason, it's a good idea to do a little bit of preparation before your appointment so that you can give your doctor the very best picture of your current health. In turn, your GP will be able to help you with appropriate treatments. These are some things worth thinking about and even writing down.

Have you had any recent changes in your life? This will help to establish what the underlying cause of your anxiety might be. If you have just started a new job, for example, or you have gone through a bad breakup, these are all potential triggers for anxiety.

How does your anxiety manifest itself? Anxiety can show up in all different kinds of ways for different people in different situations, and it's worth noting how exactly it shows up for you. Do you find yourself not wanting to leave the house? Perhaps you find yourself short of breath or with a tightening sensation of chest? Or perhaps you simply have a barrage of negative thoughts that prevent you from getting on with your day?  

When do you feel anxious? Some people have generalised anxiety throughout the day, for some people it strikes in the morning or evening, and for some people their anxiety has particular catalysts. Have a think about when your anxiety appears most strongly, as this could be useful for your doctor to know. For example, is it most acute right before bed or does it manifest when you have to speak with certain members of your family?

How long have you been feeling this way? Do you have a long history of anxiety, and has it been constant or has it gone through phases of being more or less acute?

By thinking carefully in this way, you will have a better grasp of your own anxiety and its triggers, and your doctor will have a clear picture to help them create a treatment plan for your wellness.