Q&A: Can I go to a primary care physician for anxiety or do I have to see a therapist?

Ask A Doctor Question: 

Can I go to a primary care physician for anxiety or do I have to see a therapist?

- Melissa


Carl Shubs, Ph.D. - LocateADoc.com

Whether it's for anxiety or depression, if you go to a primary care physician you'll usually get a prescription for medication.  Unfortunately, primary care physicians don't usually have their first response be to refer you to a therapist, like a psychologist.  Most of the time, you can get help for anxiety or depression with therapy alone.  When the therapy alone isn't helping soon enough or strongly enough, your therapist can then refer you to a medical doctor for medication evaluation, and your therapist should be trained to know when to do that, as psychologists are trained in that way.  If you could feel better by talking with someone or by taking pills, which would you prefer?  Remember, talking with a professional is not the same as talking with a friend or family member.

--Carl Shubs, Ph.D.
Beverly Hills, CA


Gina M. Garbell, Psy.D. - LocateADoc.com

Hello Melissa,
You have presented a great question.  
Here is the short answer:  If you are interested in seeking medication to help reduce your anxiety, then seeing your primary care physician or a psychiatrist would be appropriate.  If you are interested in learning more about what may be causing your anxiety, and also learn some tools to help you reduce your anxiety, then therapy would be a good option.  Seeing both a primary care physician or psychiatrist AND a therapist is an option many people choose as well. 

--Gina M. Garbell, Psy.D.
Bakersfield, CA


Sigal Meyuhas, L.Ac. - LocateADoc.com

Dear Melissa,
This is a question you need to ask your insurance. In California acupuncturists are Primer Health care practitioners. so, you don’t need referrals.  
But Most insurances are not covering anxiety for acupuncture. They are covering pain related problems for acupuncture.

--Sigal Meyuhas, L.Ac.
Valley Village, CA

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