Tips for Visiting the Doctor When You Have Social Anxiety

15 November 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Suffering from social anxiety can negatively affect all sorts of social interactions, but it's particularly troubling if it prevents you from getting the medical care you need. Whether you're visiting the doctor for help with your social anxiety, or to discuss an unrelated issue, it's important that you're able to fully communicate the problem. Not being able to give information on all of your symptoms might prevent you from getting the right treatment, and in serious cases could cause you harm. For example, if you're allergic to a certain medication but don't feel able to tell your doctor. Following the advice below will help you to stay calm during your appointment, so that you can get right treatment and feel better.

Make a list of symptoms

Most doctor's appointments last five or ten minutes, and this can feel really short, especially if you have multiple problems to discuss. Making a list of your symptoms will help you to remember everything, as it's easy to forget information when you're nervous. In the event that you feel really anxious and struggle to speak, you can simply hand the piece of paper to your doctor to read. Knowing that you have this option to fall back on takes a lot of pressure off, which will make it much easier to communicate.

You could include a note about your social anxiety at the start of your list, to let your doctor know what's going on. When listing symptoms, you should include information on how long they have been going on, how severe they have been, and whether any of the symptoms have worsened or improved over time. Your doctor will usually ask these questions anyway, so having your responses ready saves time and stress.

Bring a close friend or family member to your appointment

Most doctors will allow you to bring a close friend or family member to your appointment for support. You may need to inform the surgery beforehand, so make sure you bring this up when booking your appointment. Bringing someone who knows about your social anxiety will provide a lot of reassurance, and they'll be able to help you stay calm both before, during and after the appointment.

Having a second person with you in the room can also help you to remember exactly what the doctor says to you, as it's easy to get so anxious that you forget important information, like needing to make a second appointment or book tests.