According to research, more individuals in primary healthcare are currently being diagnosed with anxiety, contrary to perceptions that anxiety rates have decreased in general.
Anxious people may be reluctant to seek help, finding it difficult to talk about mental wellness to their practitioner, and [could] ultimately normalize their symptoms.
While most anxiety cases in primary care are catered to by general GPs, quite little is known about whether patients think it is proper, advisable, or important for said GPs to diagnose—and perhaps manage—anxiety disorders.
Knowing more might help in identifying reasons for the decline in recording and understanding the possible impact of this on both patient care and treatment outcomes.
Do you need to see a GP?
There are numerous symptoms of anxiety but the most prevalent are loss of appetite, constant worrying, irritability, troubled sleeping, strangely difficult day-to-day living, and an uncommon—sometimes irrational—perception of general life.
Should you notice any or some of these symptoms and be worried, or if you feel there is something about your mental health you can quite understand, we recommend a GP as your first contact point. While it can be daunting to open up to someone you hardly know about your psychological being, the support you can get from them could make all the difference.
Generally, if you speak to a GP about your concerns or struggles, they ask questions about your feelings and thoughts, a process that may help you better understand what you are dealing with and what kind of support is obtainable. They can also offer medication when appropriate, or engage you in free talk-based therapies.
GPs can also recommend simple lifestyle changes with the potential of improving your mental health, after which they either invite you for another appointment or direct you to a specialist should they think it would be more helpful.
Can a GP diagnose anxiety effectively?
Because some mental health conditions are not so easy to diagnose, your GP may not be able to pinpoint the reason for your symptoms. The same goes for specialists, as more than one mental health assessment exercise—or other tests—may be required to effectively and accurately identify your challenge.
As such, your GP can refer you directly to a mental health specialist, especially a professional psychiatrist, who might rely on any of the commonest tests. An example is the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), typically a short questionnaire used in measuring cognitive impairment.
For quotidian issues like depression and anxiety, GPs may be able to give you a diagnosis after one or two meetings. But, for uncommon problems such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental health specialists like psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists may want to see you over a longer period before diagnosing.
Technically, a GP is qualified to offer diagnoses for mental disorders. Nevertheless, as a practitioner of general medicine, they are likely to have less experience—and understanding—of the countless specific mental health disorders compared to psychiatrists and psychologists.
Get help with mental health test UK
Before seeing a psychiatrist, it could help if you do a mental health test. From your result you can then decide to see a psychiatrist.
For private psychiatrists and psychologists, get in touch with Dr J & Colleagues