Anxiety treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions
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Can I talk to a doctor on Maple about my anxiety disorder?
Yes, you can. Your doctor will want to talk to you about the anxiety disorder symptoms that you’re experiencing. They will also want to perform a physical exam and have a psychological evaluation performed before offering an anxiety disorder diagnosis.
The doctor may also refer you to mental health professionals for additional evaluations as part of your anxiety disorder treatments. If you live in select provinces and territories, you can also see a mental health physician on Maple. A mental health physician is a general practitioner trained in diagnosing and managing mental health conditions and can provide prescription medication, if necessary.
Can I get a prescription for anxiety medication through Maple?
Yes, our physicians can prescribe medications for anxiety disorders online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription for anxiety disorders, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or to have it delivered right to your door at no additional cost.
You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.
What are the most common anxiety disorders?
Anxiety is a normal emotion that helps us survive. Everyone has stressors in their lives, so it’s completely normal to experience feelings of anxiousness occasionally.
However, when anxiety is ongoing, excessive, or affecting your day-to-day life, it could be a sign of anxiety disorders.
These anxiety disorders make it difficult to control overwhelming feelings of worry, and can leave you feeling helpless and exhausted. There are several types of anxiety disorders, each caused by different triggers. Some of these include:
- Panic disorder – Recurrent, unexpected panic attacks (e.g., heart palpitations, sweating, trembling) followed by at least one month of constant concern about having another panic attack or the fear of losing control, and/or significant behaviour changes related to the attacks (e.g., avoiding exercise or places for fear of having a panic attack).
- Select mutism – Predominantly a childhood anxiety disorder that is diagnosed when a child consistently does not speak in some situations, but speaks comfortably in other situations.
- Phobias – A type of anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. Phobias typically result in a rapid onset of fear and are present for more than six months.
- Anxiety due to another medical condition – When a person suffers from anxiety disorder due to another medical condition, the presence of that medical condition leads directly to the anxiety experienced.
- Social anxiety disorder – Involves a fear or anxiety about being humiliated or scrutinized in social situations, which lasts at least six months. This fear causes significant distress or impairment in day-to-day functioning.
- Agoraphobia – A type of anxiety disorder that causes someone to fear and avoid places or situations that might cause them to panic, feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
- Substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder – Nervousness, restlessness, or panic caused by taking or stopping a drug or substance.
- Separation anxiety disorder – When someone is afraid of being separated from a particular person, persons, or even a pet. While mostly associated with young children, teens and adults can experience the condition as well.
- Unspecified anxiety disorder – When there are anxiety-like symptoms that cause significant distress or impaired functioning but there is insufficient information to determine what particular type of anxiety disorder may be present.
- Generalized anxiety disorder – characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things in someone’s daily life. Someone may worry more than seems warranted about actual events, or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.
What are the symptoms of anxiety disorders?
Signs of anxiety disorders can appear both mental and physical symptoms, depending on the type of anxiety disorder you’re experiencing.
These symptoms may also appear differently for adults than children. It’s important to note that adults may need to help identify these conditions in children, in order to know when they should talk to a doctor. They may not be able to verbalize their feelings clearly, but could instead show signs of anxiety disorders.
The most common symptoms and signs of anxiety disorders in adults include:
- Trembling or twitching
- Nervousness or restlessness
- Increasing heart rate, pounding heart, or palpitations
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- Sleep disturbances (difficulty falling or staying asleep, restless, unrestful sleep)
- Gastrointestinal (GI) problems (nausea, diarrhea, etc.)
- Impending sense of panic, danger, or doom
- Avoiding triggers (to the point of inconvenience)
- Muscle aches (brought on by chronic muscle tension)
- Difficult controlling feelings of worry or uncertainty
- Overthinking worst case scenarios
- Indecisiveness or fear when making decisions
- Perceiving situations as threatening when they aren’t
- Difficulty focusing on tasks
The most common symptoms and signs of anxiety disorders demonstrated in teens and children includes:
- Being a perfectionist
- Worrying about performance at school or in sports
- Going to excessive lengths for approval
- Seeking constant reassurance
- Crying before school, or increased difficulty returning to school after weekends or breaks
- Trouble going to sleep or staying asleep
- Feeling anxious to fit in, even in established peer groups
- Avoiding social situations or school
- Lacking confidence
- Excessive time spent on tasks (homework, practicing for sports, grooming before leaving the house, etc.)
- Intense worry about punctuality
- Strong, unfounded concern over the safety of loved ones
- Excessive worrying about uncontrollable events (natural disasters, wars, illnesses, etc.)
- Complaints of an upset stomach or other physical discomfort
What causes anxiety disorders?
Like many mental health conditions, anxiety disorders are caused by a complex combination of environmental and biological elements. In some cases, the exact causes of anxiety disorders aren’t fully understood.
Sometimes, anxiety disorders can be caused by catalysts such as:
- Changes/differences in brain chemistry or function
- Personality or environmental changes
- Traumatic events (physical injuries, extreme emotional distress, abuse, etc.)
- Stress buildup
There are also a number of medical problems that can cause anxiety disorder symptoms, including:
- Chronic pain syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Drug use
- Withdrawal from alcohol, drugs, or prescribed medications
- Thyroid issues
- Rare types of tumors that produce certain hormones
- Respiratory disorders (asthma, COPD, etc.)
- Heart disease
How are anxiety disorders diagnosed?
Before the healthcare professional provides a diagnosis for anxiety disorders, they’ll want to discuss your personal and family medical history. They’ll also want to evaluate your current condition and any anxiety disorder symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
In many cases, the healthcare provider will refer you to a mental health professional like a psychotherapist, who can help you manage your anxiety disorder symptoms.
Once you’ve had a full physical and psychological evaluation, the healthcare provider can provide an anxiety disorder diagnosis, if necessary. They’ll also be able to suggest coping strategies for anxiety, anxiety management techniques and anxiety disorder treatments, including ongoing psychotherapy, or any required prescription anxiety disorder medications.
How are anxiety disorders treated?
Psychotherapy and medications are reasonable first-line treatments for anxiety disorders. When you’re experiencing moderate-to-severe symptoms, a combination of both treatments may be most effective. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques have also been proven to effectively reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders.
There are also a number of useful changes you can make to your lifestyle to help reduce your anxiety disorder symptoms. Some of these changes include:
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs
- Improve physical activity (exercising at 60-90% of your max heart rate for 20 minutes, three times per week)
- Quit smoking
- Lessen or quit drinking caffeinated beverages
- Using relaxation or stress management techniques like yoga, or try the free Mindshift CBT app
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night
What are the most common medications prescribed for anxiety in Canada?
A doctor may deem it appropriate to prescribe medication for your anxiety disorder to lessen the distress caused by intrusive thoughts or generalized stress caused by your anxiety.
The most commonly suggested prescription anxiety medications in Canada are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as. Citalopram (Celexa), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft), Fluoxetine (Prozac), and Escitalopram (Lexapro). Serotonin -norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Venlafaxine (Effexor) are also commonly prescribed. All of the anxiety medications mentioned are available online through Maple.
Does anxiety ever go away?
Anxiety is the body’s response to stress, threats, and fear. Typical anxiety usually passes once the threat disappears.
However, anxiety disorders are different from a typical anxiety because their conditions are brought on by more than passing worries or fears.
With anxiety disorders, anxiety can occur frequently and seemingly out of the blue, and last longer than needed for the situation.
Untreated anxiety disorders can worsen over time.
What are the risks of using alcohol to relieve anxiety?
There are high risks associated with using alcohol to self-medicate an anxiety disorder, and it is not recommended. A person with an anxiety disorder is three times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder at some point in their life compared to someone who has never been diagnosed with anxiety.
When to see a doctor for anxiety disorders?
If you’ve had signs of anxiety disorders for an extended period of time, or they’re affecting your daily life, you should talk to a healthcare professional.
The healthcare professional will be able to refer you to a psychotherapist, as well as check for any physical conditions that could be causing your symptoms. They’ll also be able to discuss if a prescription anxiety disorder medication may be of any benefit to you.
With the help of a healthcare professional on Maple, you can get the anxiety disorder treatments you need. This way you can reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
What is Maple?
With Maple, you can start talking to a healthcare professional about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare app for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors and healthcare professionals.
You simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll immediately connect you to a doctor via live chat or video. You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.
Our healthcare teams can assess symptoms, and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary.
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