jtemplate.ru - free extensions for joomla

What to Expect During Your First Visit

© Joseph L. Kut, M.S., M.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago

It’s just another doctor’s visit.

Seeing a psychiatrist is just like visiting any other doctor. To prepare for your visit, be sure to:

  • Organize a list of previous treatments, medications, hospitalizations and how well you responded. This will be very helpful. Be sure to recall all psychiatric medications, even if a psychiatrist did not prescribe them. If you can’t remember, ask your pharmacy if they can provide a printout of medications going back several years.
  • Forward or bring along previous medical records.

Consider bringing a family member or friend.

Most doctors won’t mind if you bring someone to accompany you for all or part of your appointment. It may be helpful since your friend/family member will be able to take notes and help you remember some of your questions and concerns.

Don’t expect a couch!

Most psychiatrists don’t have couches. The doctor will either sit at a desk or in a chair across from you. In any case, expect a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Be prepared to explain your symptoms.

The beginning of the meeting is an opportunity for you to explain your concerns.

  • Bring notes along because you may feel a bit nervous when seeing the doctor for the first time. This also helps to keep you from forgetting to share things that may be important.
  • Bring a list of questions to make sure that your concerns are addressed.

You’ll be screened.

As the evaluation progresses, the doctor will begin asking specific questions to make sure that a full understanding of your condition is obtained. He/she will also ask questions about psychiatric conditions in general. This is to screen for symptoms of other disorders that may or may not be present.

You’ll take an exam.

Don’t worry, it’s easy. The doctor will perform a “mental status exam” to test things like memory and thought process. Expect to be asked to spell a few words or do some simple arithmetic.

The doctor will provide recommendations.

At the completion of the evaluation, the psychiatrist will explain his impressions and make treatment recommendations. This may include seeing a therapist or taking medication. The doctor will explain what sort of medication may be helpful to you, how it works, and what to expect. This is a great time to ask any leftover questions you might have.

Schedule a follow-up appointment.

Before leaving, schedule another appointment, usually two to four weeks later.