Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
You should call your doctor when you are unable to
identify the source of your stress or anxiety and if the condition continues or comes and goes.
If, in conjunction with your friends, family , or spiritual or personal advisers, you cannot identify a source or solution for your anxiety and stress, your next resource can be your doctor.
A physical problem may be causing your symptoms. Or there may be a hidden cause that requires the assistance of a counselor to help uncover. Once your doctor has ruled out a medical cause for your symptoms, your doctor can be a great resource for other options in treatment of your stress symptoms.
Primary care doctors have many resources that they can use to help get to the source of your stress. You should never be embarrassed about your situation or the fact that you are seeking help. It is the doctor's role to help.
Remember, the sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel better. If you are having physical symptoms that seem either unrelated to stress or are worse than you have experienced in the past, you should consult your doctor immediately.
You should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital's emergency department if your stress is resulting in any of these symptoms:
Thoughts about harming yourself
Thoughts about harming others
Fluttering or rapid heartbeats
Headaches unlike your usual headaches
Any condition that you feel might cause you serious harm if not treated immediately
Your doctor needs to take a careful history and perform a physical exam in order to diagnose any medical problems leading to your symptoms. After ruling out medical causes for your signs and symptoms, the doctor looks for an underlying stress or psychological disorder that could be the source of your stress symptoms.
Many times, a careful interview can be the best source of information about the cause of your symptoms. It is extremely important that you are completely honest and tell your doctor everything that you are feeling physically and emotionally and describe any situations that you think might be causing your problems or making them worse.
The doctor then performs a physical exam that is focused on the symptoms you have described.
Lab tests or other diagnostic tests such as an
electrocardiogram (ECG) may be needed to completely rule out an underlying physical cause for your symptoms.
If these tests and your doctor's exam findings are normal, the doctor may consult other specialists for further evaluation and treatment of your condition.
Reviewed by Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP on 9/5/2012