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Do You Need To Change Doctors?

Reasons Why You May Need a New Doctor for Panic Disorder

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Updated December 01, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Doctors, therapists and psychiatrists are all healthcare professionals who treat panic disorder. Seeking out the proper medical treatment can be a big first step toward your recovery process. In taking this step, it is important that you feel confident and comfortable with your doctor. Communication is essential in order for you to benefit the most out of your visits.

There are instances when poor communication or other issues can indicate that your doctor is not right for you. If your needs are not being met or you feel that you are not being treated properly, it may be time to change doctors. Listed here are valid reasons why you may need a new doctor for panic disorder and agoraphobia.

Your doctor minimizes your symptoms

There are many symptoms of panic disorder that can be alarming, such as chest pain, sweating, shaking and hyperventilation. Generally, these symptoms are a part of your fight or flight stress response, or your heightened physical reactions to a perceived threat. These symptoms are common for people who experience anxiety-related conditions, including panic attacks.

Even though the physical symptoms of panic and anxiety are typically not life threatening, there is always the possibility that they can be indicators of a serious medical condition. Your doctor will be able to rule out common co-occurring conditions and other medical issues.

Your doctor should never dismiss any of your symptoms. For example, your doctor should never tell you that your symptoms of panic disorder are "all in your head." Statements like that minimize your experience. Your symptoms are real and often frightening. They should always be thoroughly addressed by your doctor.

Your doctor does not explain your treatment options

There are many different treatment options for panic disorder, panic attacks and agoraphobia. Some of the most common treatment options involve psychotherapy, prescribed medication or a combination of the two. Psychotherapy can help you explore your feelings of anxiety and build new skills to manage your condition. Typical medication options include antidepressants and benzodiazepines, which can help reduce anxiety and lessen the severity and frequency of panic attacks.

Your doctor should discuss all of your treatment options, especially if your current treatment plan does not seem to be helping. Your doctor will be able to refer you to other specialists, such as a psychologist, if needed. If your doctor is unwilling to discuss alternatives, then it may be time to find a new doctor.

Your doctor does not address your concerns or answer your questions

When you have been diagnosed with a panic disorder, it can be expected that you will have questions. From diagnosis to treatment options and coping strategies, there are many questions to ask your doctor about panic disorder. It is important that he or she be willing to take the time to address your inquiries. If your doctor ignores your concerns or claims to be too busy to answer your questions, it may be time to find a new mental-health professional.

You don’t feel comfortable with your doctor

The relationship you have with your doctor can greatly influence your recovery process. Your doctor should provide you with adequate care. Remember that you are a customer paying for a service. Mental-health providers are expected to treat clients with empathy and understanding, not with disrespect or arrogance. If you feel uncomfortable with your doctor or any other mental-health provider, you should seek a second opinion, referral or different doctor.

Asking your doctor for help for panic disorder and agoraphobia can be challenging. Once you seek out his or her support, you deserve to be treated with fairness, flexibility and respect. You have the right to get the proper help you need.

Most doctors are dedicated to helping others. However, some doctors may not fully understand panic disorder and agoraphobia. Sometimes a particular doctor just isn’t the right fit for you. If you feel that your doctor is not providing you the services you need, be sure to discuss your concerns in an assertive manner. Do not be confrontational or act hostilely toward your doctor. Keep in mind that it is within your rights to change doctors at any time.

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