Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Michael in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have no one to go to for support when I have panic attacks or random anxiety attacks. What can someone like me do without having to take drugs or go see a psychiatrist which costs a lot of money?
Well, you could consider a support group. Support groups are different from therapy groups and that typically they don’t charge a fee. They may ask for an optional donation for their expenses. Support groups are not facilitated by a professional therapist, but they’re self-run by the members and they’re made up of people all experiencing similar problems. In this case, anxiety and panic attacks.
You get a place to learn first and foremost that you are not alone in this. It’s a problem that many people experience. You get concrete advice and feedback and also tips to managing anxiety and you get emotional support as well as a place to get comfort and fortitude.
I would also question the assumption that you need drugs or medications or a psychiatrist or even that it’s expensive. The first step is an evaluation by a professional to determine what your needs actually are. It is possible to manage anxiety without mediations, although the best outcomes come from a combination of medications and psychotherapy.
Medications can be prescribed by a general physician who’s experienced and educated in the management of anxiety disorders. This may cost less than seeing a psychiatrist who’s a specialist. You may have to shop around for a PCP or a primary care physician or a general physician and ask about their credentials, training and experience in handling anxiety disorders. A professional counselor can also be a big help. They can show you ways to cope with anxiety without using medications and they’re generally also less expensive than a psychiatrist.
Finally, if you talk to a specific psychiatrist or counselor, they may be able to adjust their fee based on your income. This is called a sliding fee scale. Depending on where you live, there also may be low cost mental health clinics where you can get assistance.
Bottom line; question your assumptions. Check out the facts first. It may not be as much as you think. That is yet another example of anxious thinking, black and white, that’s the way it is, and there is no middle ground. You might be pleasantly surprised about fees if you just ask.