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Talking to Your Doctor About Social Anxiety Disorder
General Tips for Gathering Information
- 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, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Have you helped other people with social anxiety disorder?
- Can you refer me to a doctor or counselor who does?
- What medical conditions are associated with increased risk of this disorder?
- Is there a genetic influence?
- What treatments are available for me?
- If I have the performance type of social anxiety disorder, what types of medications might be best?
- If I have the generalized type of social anxiety disorder, what types of medications might be best?
- How long will it take for me to feel better once I start taking medication?
- What benefits should I expect from the medication?
- What side effects should I watch for?
- Should I also see a counselor who treats people with social anxiety disorder?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that I should consider?
- What is your training and experience in treating anxiety disorders?
- What is your basic approach to treatment?
- How long does treatment go on?
- What is the length and frequency of treatment sessions?
- What health insurance is accepted?
- Do you have fee schedules and sliding scale fees to accompany various financial circumstances?
What lifestyle changes can help me reduce my symptoms of stress and anxiety? Including:
- Relaxation and stress management techniques
- Limiting alcohol or drug intake
- How do I go about making these lifestyle changes?
- What are my chances of recovery from social anxiety disorder both with and without treatment?
- How often do social anxiety disorder and other related conditions recur?
- Am I at risk of having or developing other psychological problems?
Moore DP, Jefferson JW. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby; 2004.
Schneier FR. Clinical practice. Social anxiety disorder. N Engl J Med. 2006;355:1029-1036.
Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Anxiety Disorders of America website. Available at: http://www.adaa.org/GettingHelp/AnxietyDisorders/SocialPhobia.asp. Updated October 2008. Accessed October 30, 2008.
Social phobia (social anxiety disorder). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/social-phobia-social-anxiety-disorder.shtml. Updated October 2008. Accessed October 30, 2008.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2013
- Update Date: 11/30/2013