8 Signs You Need a New Doctor for Your Social Anxiety

Impatient doctor.
A dismissive doctor will interfere with your treatment. Getty / Chris Schmidt

Finding a doctor or therapist to treat social anxiety disorder (SAD) is only the first step in seeking help. Although most doctors are competent and have your best interests at heart, this is not true for all doctors.

Below are some signs that you may need to find a new doctor.

1. Your doctor or therapist makes you feel uncomfortable.

Whether you are seeing a family doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist, your doctor should make you feel comfortable.

If you suffer with SAD, it is especially important to find someone who is empathetic and treats you with respect. If your doctor is arrogant, rude, or disrespectful, it is time to move on.

2. Your doctor is unresponsive.

All doctors are busy. However, if you have trouble booking appointments or find that your doctor does not have time to adequately address your concerns, this may affect your treatment. When choosing a treatment professional, take into account how responsive the doctor is to your needs.

3. Your doctor does not understand SAD.

If you are visiting your family doctor for an initial consultation, it is understandable that she may not specialize in SAD. However, when meeting with a psychiatrist or therapist, it is important that these professionals have experience with the disorder or can refer you to someone who does.

4. Your doctor does not listen.

There are many reasons why your doctor may not listen to you.

Perhaps he has preconceived ideas about what is wrong. Maybe he is busy or impatient. He may even listen but disregard what you say. If your doctor does not listen to you or value your opinion, he may not be the doctor for you.

5. Your doctor minimizes your symptoms.

Your doctor should not minimize your symptoms.

If your doctor tells you that you are "just shy" or that you are imagining things (e.g., that other people are thinking badly about you), it is time to find a new doctor. It doesn't matter whether other people are judging you or not; it is the way that you feel.

6. Your doctor doesn't explain treatments.

If your doctor rushes to prescribe medication without explaining the benefits, risks and side effects, this is unacceptable. Your doctor should carefully explain all aspects of potential treatments and allow you to make decisions about what you want to receive.

7. Your doctor pushes a treatment you are not comfortable with.

It is the job of your doctor to recommend treatment alternatives, weigh different options with you, and give her opinion. Your doctor should not push you into receiving a treatment that you are not comfortable with. You have final say about the treatment that you receive.

8. Your doctor does not suggest alternatives.

If you are not making progress with treatment, but your doctor is unwilling to discuss other alternatives, it may be time to seek a second opinion.

Your doctor should be flexible with respect to trying different treatments and making referrals if it is clear that he cannot help.

Seeking help for SAD can be difficult, but finding yourself with a bad doctor can be extremely distressing.

Realize that it is not your fault, and that others have probably had similar experiences. If your doctor displays any of the above behaviors, it is time to ask for an outside consultation, second opinion, or referral to someone else.

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