Many people can be nervous when seeking psychiatric help. Some of this can stem from the negative connotations society has made in connection with psychiatrists. It can also stem from the simple fact that you may be doing something that you’ve never done before. Visiting any type of medical specialist can be nerve wracking.
With any specialist appointment, knowing what to expect is helpful so you know what to bring and how to prepare yourself. Establishing expectations ahead of time also eliminates the fear of the unknown, since now you have an idea of what will happen during your consultation. In order to have a positive experience at your psychiatric consultation, here are 4 tips to have the best psychiatric consultation:
Know Your Medical History
Just like any other medical professional, psychiatrists will ask about your medical history, current and past health conditions, and current medications. Depending on your medical history, your psychiatrist may check your vitals or order blood work to eliminate medical causes of your symptoms or to assist with developing a treatment plan. It is also very likely that they will ask about a family history of mental illness, so it may be helpful to have a conversation with your family before your appointment.
If you have undergone psychiatric treatment before or have ever taken psychiatric drugs, your psychiatrist will ask what medications were prescribed and how they affected you. Since there is such a large amount of information pertaining to discussing your medical history, it may be helpful to jot down some notes before your appointment. The more information you can offer, the better your psychiatrist will be able to help you.
Think About Your Treatment Goals
At some point during your psychiatric evaluation, you will likely be asked why you are there. To answer this question, it helps to think about your reasons beforehand. Think about the types, severity, and occurrence of your symptoms and what you would like to change about them. Try to be specific, realistic, and open to the fact that you may not meet these goals right away. It may also be helpful to ask people close to you if they have noticed any changes in your behavior that doesn’t seem like you. All this information can help your psychiatrist develop an individualized treatment plan.
Be Prepared for Emotions
Psychiatric consultations can be emotional, especially if you have been repressing your emotions. Discussing your past, family history, and treatment goals can bring up sensitive issues that can cause you to feel a variety of emotions. It is completely normal to feel emotionally drained or overwhelmed after a psychiatric consultation. Understanding this can help you better prepare for possible emotional stress.
Plan for the Future
One of the final things that happens during a psychiatric appointment is a discussion about a proposed treatment plan. In most cases, psychiatric treatment generally consists of medication along with psychotherapy. For more information about this treatment approach, see “The Difference Between Psychology and Psychiatry and Why You May Need Both”. However, depending on the severity of your symptoms, certain treatment centers may be recommended to make your symptoms more manageable. Ultimately, your treatment plan is a conversation between you and your psychiatrist. You should feel free to ask questions, voice concerns, and play an active role in developing your psychiatric treatment plan.
Knowing your medical history, thinking about your treatment goals, being prepared for emotions, and looking towards the future are four ways to have the best psychiatric consultation. These four tips should help you to better prepare for your psychiatric appointment and hopefully have reduced any anxiety you may have about your upcoming appointment. Using these four tips will help your psychiatric consultation go smoother and will help you play an active role in your mental health.
Dr. Miller is trained in Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is also trained in Anesthesia and Pain Management. Because of her broad experience, Dr. Miller is uniquely qualified to treat psychological trauma, depression and anxiety that can occur as a result of injury or disability. For more information, schedule a consultation at NJ Family Psychiatry & Therapy.