Anxiety & Depression: How Your GP Can Help
From time to time, most adults feel stressed, worried or sad. However, when these feelings last for long periods of time, such as days, weeks or months, it’s likely that you are experiencing anxiety or depression. Understanding the signs of these conditions and checking in with a trusted GP can help you get things back on track.
When to see a GP about anxiety and depression
You may find it difficult to recognise the early signs of anxiety or depression, and they can present differently in different people. Common early signs can include one or more of the following:
- Feeling a bit worried or flat
- Feeling like you’re in a constant state of upset
- You’ve lost interest in work, sports or activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling deeply stressed or agitated most of the time
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to check in with your GP.
Mental health experts recommend making contact with a GP as the best starting point for people experiencing anxiety or depression. Most Australian GPs are exposed to these conditions every day. In fact, in any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.
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What can a GP do to help with anxiety and depression?
Most Australian GPs are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression. They can make an on the spot diagnosis of your condition and also check for any physical health problems or medications that may be making your symptoms worse.
From here, your GP can provide you with information about anxiety and depression and talk to you about your preferences for available treatment.
One of the most helpful things your GP can do is to work with you to draw up a mental health treatment plan. The treatment plan will help your GP gather important information about how you are feeling. This plan will also help you get a Medicare rebate for psychological treatment should you choose that path.
As well as setting up your mental health treatment plan, your GP can provide brief counselling support, refer you for further treatment with a mental health professional, prescribe medication and schedule regular appointments to monitor your progress.
Consider booking a longer appointment
Before you see a GP about depression or anxiety, it’s important to book a double appointment. This will give you enough time to discuss the situation without feeling rushed. It will also provide time for you to fill out a mental health treatment plan.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, book an appointment with a local GP as soon as possible. If you can’t get an appointment at your regular clinic, or if you would like to see a different doctor to discuss your symptoms, you can find and book an alternative convenient appointment, in a location of your choosing through HealthEngine.
- Health.gov.au – Better access to mental health care: fact sheet for patients
- Health.gov.au – GP mental health treatment plan
- Healthdirect.gov.au – Mental health care plan
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.