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Can a Primary Doctor Prescribe Anxiety Medication?

Are you struggling with anxiety and considering anxiety medication for treatment? If so, you may be wondering who prescribes anxiety medication and if it’s the right treatment path for you. Specifically, can your primary care doctor prescribe anxiety medication? The short answer is yes. But let’s dive into why this is the case, the role of your primary care doctor in mental health conditions and what you should know about anxiety medication. Read on to learn more or make a same-day appointment with a Circle Medical primary care provider to find out how they can help!

A Brief Introduction

Anxiety is a common mood disorder that can cause feelings of fear, stress and worry during your daily life. A common treatment path for anxiety may be a mix of lifestyle changes, therapy and prescription medication. However, anxiety treatment should be unique to each individual, and what might work for you may not work for someone else. It’s important to seek professional medical opinions on the best treatment plan for your mental health. So, whether you're seeking answers for yourself or a loved one, this blog post will provide clarity on how the anxiety medication prescription process works and how your primary care provider is involved.

Understanding Anxiety Disorders

As mentioned, the common mental health condition known as anxiety can be characterized by symptoms such as excessive worry, fear and distress. These feelings are often disproportionate to the situations causing the worry, and physical symptoms such as panic attacks, sweating, rapid breathing and increased heart rate can sometimes accompany the mental symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety can be debilitating and affect an individual’s work, school, social life and happiness. Anxiety can also be further categorized into specific disorders such as generalized anxiety, social anxiety and more.

However, it is important to note that anxiety is a normal response to stress, so just because you sometimes have feelings of anxiety doesn’t necessarily mean you have an anxiety disorder. Typically, it can be considered an anxiety disorder if the anxiety is excessive and impacts your daily life. It’s important to speak with a medical professional to get a proper diagnosis and determine if anxiety is the cause of your symptoms. Understanding the severity and type of anxiety you have will help you find the best and most effective path to treatment. With all that being said, let’s talk about how your primary care doctor gets involved when you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.

The Role of Primary Doctors in Mental Health

Primary care doctors will play a crucial role in addressing your mental health and treating any mental health conditions. Sometimes specialists may get involved in the treatment process, but treatment will typically begin with your primary care provider.

As with most health conditions, primary care providers act as your first point of contact for mental health issues. Your primary care provider is trained to have a comprehensive knowledge of overall health, including mental and physical health. They can recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders, including anxiety, and provide an assessment that may lead to an official diagnosis. 

Once your primary care provider has diagnosed a mental health condition, they will then move on to developing a treatment tailored to you. Primary care providers have an overview of your health history and, ideally, know you fairly well, which allows them to create a treatment plan best suited to your lifestyle and health needs.

A primary care provider can start by recommending lifestyle changes that may help with your anxiety treatment and determine if prescription medication is medically appropriate for your situation. To that end, primary care providers can also prescribe this medication, though we’ll touch on this more next.

Along with developing treatment plans and prescribing medication, primary care providers can also refer you to specialists, like therapists, that can help your condition with therapy. Additionally, your primary care provider will monitor your progress on an ongoing basis and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

In short, it’s important to approach your primary care provider with any concerns you have about your mental health and communicate with them about it openly. This will allow you to get a diagnosis and work with your provider to determine the best possible course of treatment.

Prescribing Authority of Primary Doctors

Primary care providers play a crucial role in the management and treatment of various health conditions, but are they authorized to prescribe medication?

The answer is yes, as they are trained to assess and diagnose mental health conditions, including anxiety. Typically primary care providers have the authority to prescribe common anxiety medications. Primary care providers can also assess the severity of the anxiety disorder and determine if further analysis by a specialist is needed.

One of the most important aspects of the prescribing authority of primary care providers is the fact that they can evaluate your medical history. Meaning they can determine the right medication for your specific needs and medical considerations.

In short, if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and seeking anxiety management, scheduling an appointment with your primary doctor is a great starting point. They can provide an initial assessment, prescribe appropriate medication if necessary and guide you through the treatment process.

Treatment Approaches

Speaking of treatment, your primary care provider will also likely be developing your treatment plan. Since they have the proper training to diagnose and treat various medical conditions, they can also help your anxiety. Here are some of the common treatment approaches used for anxiety:

  • Therapy — If possible, your primary care provider will usually start with non-medication treatment approaches such as therapy. Different forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help address and manage the symptoms of anxiety. Your primary care provider can also refer you to a therapist or help you find one that you’re comfortable with. 
  • Lifestyle changes — Lifestyle changes can also be a helpful non-medication approach to anxiety treatment. Changes such as getting more exercise, eating a balanced diet and practicing relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation may be recommended.
  • Prescription medication — If non-medication approaches aren’t sufficient or if the condition is severe, your primary care provider may decide to prescribe anxiety medication. These medications help the brain manage anxiety and reduce symptoms.

Overall, medication often isn’t the sole treatment for anxiety. It is typically most effective when combined with therapy and other non-medication approaches. Anxiety treatment happens on a case-by-case basis, and your primary care provider can help determine what is best for your individual needs.

Things To Know About Anxiety Medication

Anxiety medication is prescribed to help individuals manage the symptoms of anxiety disorder. There are different types of anxiety medication, and they work in different ways to alleviate symptoms. With that in mind, here are some general things to know about anxiety medication:


Of course, the biggest benefit of anxiety medication is the fact that it can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, making daily life more manageable for the individual. When anxiety medication is a medically appropriate solution, it can also help patients focus more on other treatment paths, such as therapy and lifestyle changes. With that being said, there are things you need to keep in mind if you’re interested in taking anxiety medication.


  • Medication isn’t a cure — It’s important to understand that while medication can help to relieve anxiety symptoms, it’s not a cure. Symptom management can help achieve positive mental health outcomes, but it’s important to incorporate other treatment methods to achieve the best results possible.
  • It’s important to have medical supervision — Anxiety medications need to be prescribed and should never be taken recreationally. Your doctor will be able to help find the best anxiety medication for you, if appropriate, and can monitor dosage on an ongoing basis. This way, you can safely take your medication under the supervision of a medical professional.
  • Be aware of side effects — Remember that anxiety medications can potentially cause side effects. You should talk about the potential side effects with your doctor so you can watch out for them and inform your doctor if you’re experiencing negative side effects that are affecting your quality of life.
  • It may take some trial and error — Anxiety medications work differently for each individual. Finding the right medication may take some trial and error before finding one that works with you. Make sure to have regular check-ins with your doctor to adjust medication and dosage as necessary.

Connect With a Doctor or Online Provider

If you’re seeking treatment for anxiety, it starts with talking to your primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider or if you’re looking for a change, consider speaking to an online provider. Online primary care providers can provide diagnoses, treatment plans, specialist referrals and prescriptions when medically necessary. They are also much more convenient than in-person clinics, saving you the hassle of having to commute to the doctor’s office and sit in a waiting room. If you’re interested in online care, Circle Medical is here to help.

Book an appointment with a Circle Medical telehealth provider today!

Circle Medical is a full-service online and in-person primary care clinic with over 200 board-certified providers that are here for your primary care needs. You can get started with care as soon as possible with a convenient same-day appointment. Schedule your appointment with a telehealth provider today!

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