Will my doctor give me a sick note for anxiety? (yes or no)

Are you looking for the answer to the question  ‘will my doctor give me a sick note for anxiety?’ then you are at the right place. In this blog, we try to understand if you can get a sick note for anxiety, how to ask for a sick note, and what it is like to have anxiety. 

will my doctor give me a sick note for anxiety? 

We know that if you fall sick with a fever or flu, all you have to do is submit a sick note issued by your doctor, recommending you complete rest. 

But is it as easy for a mental health condition like anxiety too? 

To our surprise, it is possible that your doctor will give you a sick note for anxiety. 

Anxiety is a common and healthy emotion. however, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety it might be considered a mental disorder. 

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

If your doctor does give you a sick note for anxiety then there are various medications which your doctor could provide you including Benadryl for Anxiety.

There are also other alternative treatment plans for anxiety such as tragus piercing for anxiety.

How to get a sick note for anxiety? 

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety you can get a sick note from 

  • your local NHS GP
  • your hospital doctor if you are receiving inpatient treatment
  • some walk-in centers 
  • a private doctor

To get a sick note: 

  • Schedule a doctor appointment
  • The doctor may examine you to assess your condition
  • The doctor will decide if you are fit to work or not
  • The doctor will write a sick note if they deem you are fit for some work or not fit for work
  • Present the sick note to your employer

It is very important for you to make an appointment before visiting the doctor. This would avoid various trips to the doctor’s office. 

Once you visit the doctor, make sure to tell them what you have been feeling. Give them detailed information about your condition. 

The doctor based on your information will assess you if you are fit for the sick note or no. 

Once you receive the sick note, go to your employer and tell him about your condition.  

If you find that you are constantly suffering from anxiety due to your job then your job may be one of the worst jobs for people who suffer from anxiety. You should consider switching jobs to any of the best jobs for anxiety.

When do you need a sick note? 

Sick notes, also known as fit notes, doctor’s notes, and medical certificates, are used to notify the employer, teacher, or person in charge that you’re not fit for work. Fit notes benefit employees by providing them with the time they need to get better, and they benefit employers by allowing them to make adjustments to their workplace to reduce sickness absence costs.

Employers usually ask for a sick note if you have been sick for 7 days or more, including the weekends. If you have been sick for 7 days or less, most employees ask for self-certification. 

Work-related anxiety 

Work anxiety can dramatically affect your quality of life and leave you counting down the minutes until five o’clock comes around. It is seen that roughly three out of every four people with stress or anxiety in their life say that it interferes with their daily lives, and the workplace is no exception.

 Anxiety can affect performance at work, the quality of the work, relationships with colleagues, and relationships with supervisors. And if you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, then these challenges may prove even more difficult.

In the UK, more than half a million people are off sick from work every 28 months due to anxiety and stress-related conditions. Recent NHS figures show that as many as one in three sick notes is due to psychiatric problems, making them the most common reason for people to take time off work. Between the years  2015-2016 and 2016-2017, there was a 14% rise in the number of sick notes issued due to anxiety and stress.

Symptoms of work-related anxiety 

Feeling overwhelmed at work, is completely normal, because who does not feel stressed? But sometimes things can get serious. It is when the anxiety gets extreme, interfering with your ability to work, causing emotional and physical problems. 

Even though the diagnostic and statistical manual, does not categorize a disorder for work-related anxiety, there are a few common symptoms of anxiety that are experienced. 

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Over/under eating
  • Feeling irritable
  • Avoiding family/friends
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling down
  • Loss of interest in your work
  • Bad memory
  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Muscle tension
  • Feeling like you’re going mad
  • Constant worrying
  • A desire to be perfect
  • Irrational fear of making mistakes
  • Crying

In addition to these general symptoms, a person is experiencing work-related anxiety can also show the following symptoms: 

  • Taking an unusual amount of time off work
  • Overreacting to situations on the job
  • Focusing too much on negative aspects of their job
  • Struggling to concentrate or complete tasks by the deadline

Causes of work-related anxiety 

Work-related anxiety can be caused by various characteristics of the work environment. It’s quite common for certain major events to make you nervous or feel temporary moments of anxiety. For example, starting a new job or leaving an old one is sure to make anyone feel skittish.

We spend most of our time at work that if things aren’t going our way, it can feel overwhelming. It is not necessary for it to rise to the level of ongoing anxiety, but it can be helpful to talk to someone about any of these issues.

Following is a list of causes that can lead to work-related anxiety: 

  • Dealing with workplace bullying or conflicts
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Maintaining relationships with coworkers
  • Managing staff
  • Working long hours
  • Having a demanding boss
  • Experiencing a workload that is extremely high
  • Having a lack of direction on tasks
  • Experiencing a lack of perception of fairness
  • Feeling a lack of control over the work environment
  • Having a low reward (not enough pay, benefits, etc.)

How does work-related anxiety affect you? 

If you have been living with work anxiety for a while, it has probably taken a toll on your emotional and physical health. 

Below are some of the most common effects of work anxiety, which can occur both within and outside the workplace:

  • Reduced job performance and quality of work
  • Hampered  relationships with coworkers and superiors
  • Noticing effects on personal life
  • Feeling effects on your personal relationships such as your romantic partner, friends, etc. 
  • Developing problems with concentration, fatigue, irritability, reduced productivity
  • Turning down opportunities due to phobias
  • Having reduced job satisfaction
  • Noticing reduced confidence and self-esteem 
  • Feeling incompetent. 
  • Experiencing reduced goal setting and achievement
  • Taking fewer risks and more likely to plateau in your career
  • Feeling isolated
  • Experiencing job loss
  • Developing clinical levels of anxiety (e.g., a diagnosable disorder)
  • Seeing effects on the organization if you are an executive
  • Having reduced social skills and ability to function within a team
  • Planning less effectively
  • Avoiding innovation

How to deal with work-related anxiety?

Knowing the effects of work-related anxiety and the emotional and physical toll it takes on the person, within the work environment as well as outside of it, it is a pressing issue that one needs to deal with. One can not ignore such a condition. 

Here are a few steps to follow that can help your work-related anxiety: 

Seek professional help: When it comes to mental health disorders it is important that you go to a  therapist or a counselor. I say this because they can give you a perspective that you lack.  Having a therapist or a counselor akes you believe that you do not have to go through this all alone.  A clinical psychologist who provides cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals in learning better about their anxiety and change their relationship with anxious thoughts and feelings. 

Stay connected to friends and family: If your anxiety has not reached the level, where you cannot manage it by yourself, you can always turn towards your friends and family. Talk to them about what you are feeling. Sharing usually helps you deal better.

Avoid alcohol and other energy drinks: When you are dealing with ongoing anxiety, it is very important that you cut back on alcohol and other drugs. Having energy drinks or caffeinated drinks may only add to your symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. 

Take time to breathe: It is very important to relax your body. Anxiety can induce restlessness, heavy breathing, muscle tension, etc. Diaphragmatic breathing or other relaxation-inducing practices such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, exercises, yoga can help reduce anxiety and stress. 

Take a break: It is important that you take time off your work and engage in activities that help you calm down. Activities like painting, music, gardening, etc. every now and then make sure you take off from work and visit a place of your liking. At the least, you can visit your parents. 

Fight the negative thoughts in your mind: Remember that you cannot trust our mind yourself. Your thoughts are always not true. Sometimes these thoughts are supremely unhelpful to us. Observe what is going in your mind. Try to find evidence for the same. If you cannot find proof, refute the thought 

Do not suppress your anxiety: If you are feeling anxious, suppressing it would be counterproductive. Instead, find a productive way to remove your anxiety. If talking it out helps you, find a friend who listens to you. If running helps you and gives you time to think. Go for a run. 

Do not change the way you live: It is quite possible that you may want to adjust your life as per your anxiety. But do not let our anxiety win. Do not limit yourself. Take a few steps forward. If you aim in flying, then fly. Accepting your situation fully will help you deal with it better. 

Keep in mind, if these above-mentioned steps do not help you deal with work-related anxiety you might want to consider changing the job rules and duties, find a better and healthier job, or if needed change careers too. 

Conclusion 

In this blog, we tried to answer the question  ‘will my doctor give me a sick note for anxiety?’. We also tried to understand if you can get a sick note for anxiety, how to ask for a sick note, and what it is like to have anxiety. 

Frequently Asked Questions:  Will my doctor give me a sick note for anxiety? 

How do I tell my employer about my sick note? 

It is important that you come straight about your health condition to your employer. Take the employer to a quiet place and tell him/her what you are going through. Show them your sick note, and ask for a few days of leave so you can recover and come back with efficiency. 

Can a doctor refuse to give you a sick note for anxiety? 

Doctors usually do not have any incentive to refuse to provide a sick note. Patients who look physically well might be experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders. Although it is possible that your doctor might not see it fit for you to take off work for no reason. In such situations, he may deny issuing a sick note. 

Do you go back to work the day your sick note expires?

Going back to work depends on you and your employer. If you feel you are doing well and can manage your work you can go back with your employer’s agreement. It can be before your sick note expires. If your employer feels you should take a few more days off, then return to work after being completely fit. 

References 

https://www.verywellmind.com/work-anxiety-4692762

https://www.businessinsider.in/careers/news/11-tricks-psychologists-say-can-help-you-manage-anxiety-and-stress-at-work/slidelist/75331387.cms#slideid=75331996

https://www.medicspot.co.uk/treatment/sick-note#when

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Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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