Can a psychiatrist cure anxiety?

A psychiatrist is a doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. A psychiatrist can provide both psychotherapy and medication for your anxiety disorder.

Updated on March 12, 2023

What to say and ask

Where to start?

Anxiety disorder is a medical condition that can be treated by a number of specialists. The earlier you start treatment, the better results you can expect.

Effective treatment of anxiety disorder requires you to be completely open and honest with your doctor. It is important that you trust and feel comfortable with the doctor treating your condition. Don't feel like you are "stuck" with the first doctor you see. If you don't feel comfortable with him or her, see another doctor.

You and your doctor must be able to work together as a team to treat your disorder. Different doctors and specialists can help manage your anxiety. The best place to start is with your doctor.

Primary care physician

Your doctor will do a complete physical exam to determine if your symptoms are caused by another medical condition. Anxiety symptoms may be caused by:

  • hormonal imbalances
  • drug side effects
  • certain diseases
  • various other conditions

If your doctor rules out other illnesses, your diagnosis may be an anxiety disorder. In this case, he or she may refer you to a mental health specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. A referral to a specialist is especially likely if your anxiety is very severe or accompanied by another mental disorder, such as depression.


A psychologist can offer psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or counseling. A psychologist can help you understand the causes of your anxiety and make behavioral changes. This type of therapy can be especially helpful if you have experienced trauma or abuse. Depending on the state in which you live, a psychologist may prescribe medication for depression. Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico are the only states where psychologists are allowed to prescribe medication.

Treatment with a psychologist is likely to be combined with ongoing treatment with your primary care physician. Psychotherapy and medication are often used together to treat an anxiety disorder.


A psychiatrist is a doctor with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. A psychiatrist can provide both psychotherapy and medication for your anxiety disorder.

Psychiatric nurse practitioner

Psychiatric nurse practitioners provide primary psychiatric care to people seeking treatment for a variety of mental illnesses. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are able to diagnose and treat people with mental illness, including prescribing medications. As fewer medical students go into psychiatry, more and more psychiatric care is being taken over by psychiatric nurse practitioners.

In addition to your prescribed treatment, you may want to join a support group. It is very helpful to talk to other people who are experiencing symptoms similar to yours. It is good to know that you are not alone. Someone else with similar symptoms can understand what you are going through and offer support and encouragement. Participating in a group can also help you develop new social skills.

There are likely several support groups in your community, either for your specific disorder or for anxiety in general. Check with your health care professionals to see what resources are available in your area. You can ask yours:

  • mental health provider
  • primary doctor
  • county mental health agency

You can also participate in online support groups. This can be a good way to start if you have social anxiety disorder or feel uncomfortable in a face-to-face group.

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