On my depression journey, I have encountered many other individuals with depression, in addition to people without a mental illness. The reason I sharing this with you, is that I am amazed at just how few people really know what a psychiatrist actually does.
For example, several people I have spoken to believe that everything a psychiatrist does is write prescriptions for medication, there you have it!
The reality is that psychiatrists do so much more than just dish out medication prescriptions...
... psychiatrists are medical doctors whose speciality is within mental health.
10 Things to consider When Finding A Psychiatrist
- To begin with, you will most likely want to get a referral letter from your general practitioner. Try not to worry, most general practitioners already have a summary of their favorite psychiatrists whom they are able to recommend. I personally use the job "favorite" as the doctor is a superb resource for recommendations as their patients often provide them with feedback which psychiatrists are accomplishing well. Also your physician may have heard from other doctors which psychiatrists get good feedback.
- Make it clear to your doctor regardless of whether you prefer seeing a male or female psychiatrist. I only say this because when I was known my initial psychiatrist, he would be a male and I didn't feel comfortable with him (or even the next 2 male psychiatrists!). It truly is an individual choice. For me, I find that i'm able to be more open and say things i want to say with a female psychiatrist than I could having a male one.
- After you have a referral, phone the psychiatrist's office and make an appointment. Please do not be discouraged if you need to wait several weeks prior to an appointment as that appears is the standard time frame.
- At the first appointment (usually about One hour) together with your psychiatrist, it really is a become familiar with you appointment. The psychiatrist will ask you many questions to enable them to better understand you and what your expectations are regarding seeing them. It's unlikely that any CBT will require place at this initial appointment.
- Now, please pay close attention to this factor when finding a psychiatrist. Even though you might have had to wait a couple of weeks for the appointment, however, you don't feel comfortable with the psychiatrist for ANY reason - don't feel obliged to see them again.
- Trust me, during the past Two decades, I have had to determine more psychiatrists than I choose to remember, before I discovered one who I could work with and trust. The defining element in all of my first appointments was this "Is this psychiatrist hearing me?" If I felt they weren't, i then would swiftly proceed to the following psychiatrist. My point here's when a psychiatrist is not hearing you, then how possibly can they talk to you about how exactly you are feeling and just what issues you might have. The answer is easy: they cannot! I will let you in on a secret... ...psychiatry is like any profession, you will find great people there are also some very ordinary individuals. My advice for you is don't give up! Visit someone else. I'm knowledgeable that it could be difficult that you should cope with your feelings and finding a partner whom you enjoy talking to - but it's worthwhile to persevere.
- At your first appointment, I would recommend that you mention the issue of privacy. How best to approach this? Well, I got my psychiatrist to agree that any information that I provide during an appointment is private. Seriously, you should know your rights! And people rights incorporate your psychiatrist keeping what you let them know confidential, unless you give them express permission to waive that right. It might be amiss of me if I did not explain there are limited circumstances where they can break this confidentiality. These circumstances are: When a court of law orders these to provide information, o When the psychiatrist believes that you simply or someone else is at risk of serious harm. I urge you not to allow these rare circumstances put you off locating a psychiatrist. In over 20 years, my information has never been distributed to anyone without my consent.
- Another factor to consider to find a psychiatrist, is the cost. You shouldn't be afraid to inquire about a psychiatrist how much they charge. If you're not able to afford a private psychiatrist, then in most instances if you see a psychiatrist who works at a community health centre or for the federal government inside a hospital, then you definitely won't have to pay for anything.
- Let's say that you have applied the 8 factors above in finding a psychiatrist who you are comfortable with. Good for you - I mean that! You are well on your way to managing your depression. For most of us the need to resist medication is quite strong - I'm among those people! Then when my psychiatrist (number 5 or 6, I forget!), discussed prescribing an anti-depressant for me, I was totally against it. Why? If I had to take anti-depressants then that has to imply that I'm not "normal"! Oh boy, how naive I had been in those days! I've since learnt that taking anti-depressants is a very effective way to handle my depression - actually, I would go as far as to say that anti-depressants have saved my entire life...literally. Now we all know that's a bold statement, however it happens to be true. Without visiting a psychiatrist AND taking my medication, it's impossible which i would have the great quality of life that I have finally.
- This factor follows on from factor 9. Once you have gone through the necessary steps for look for a psychiatrist, you should take their advice - they are the experts after all. But if you differ or understand their advice, then tell them. This will give the psychiatrist an opportunity to explain their reasoning and thoughts on why CBT, IPT and/or medication may be ideal for you.
Okay, that's it! See, it really isn't that difficult finding a psychiatrist, keep these 10 factors in mind and I am sure that you will find a great psychiatrist.