How do I prepare for my first psychiatrist appointment?
Deciding to book an appointment with your doctor is probably a big one when you go through a mental condition. If you are struggling with symptoms like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and fear a lot, you should see a psychiatrist.
Most people do not know what to expect from the session or how to prepare for it. Furthermore, most people seek help because they fear the initial meeting to be pretty hard for them. But if you know every answer to your question you can avoid these fears. Take time to prepare yourself before attending the appointment. So you will be able to explain to your psychiatrist your problem more clearly.
Proper guide to prepare for your appointment
To push your fears away take little steps at a time. Start with point one of preparation and proceed gradually:
Prepare your medical history. It is most likely your psychiatrist will like to know some insights into your medical history. Your doctor can also ask you about your personal relationship and your psychiatric history. To prepare:
- A list of all the psychiatric medications you have taken so far, even details about the dosage and how long you have taken it.
- Your medical condition and any past diagnosis case.
- Any psychiatric issue running in the family.
- A complete list of all the medications you have taken including psychiatric medications.
Furthermore, if you have taken any psychiatric sessions in the past, take that file along with you.
- Track symptoms
It is best to track your symptoms, how you have been feeling lately, or your reaction to a situation. Analyzing your daily, weekly, and monthly mood will help you and your psychiatrist a lot. Usually, a psychiatrist asks you questions relating to your mood, and it can be difficult to answer if you do not have a track of it.
There might be a situation in which you will not say how your mood was the day before. So, it would be best if you use a tracking device for your mood.
- Write everything down
One thing that serves very useful is writing down everything as notes for the appointment. You can write important dates, notable things and precautions mental-health-wise. If you are having any sleep issues or you are noticing any violent emotion, write it down. Also, many other things which you think your doctor should know to make a note for it. If you don’t make it, it will be hard to remember it on the spot.
- Identify cause
You must know what your trigger is. Knowing your negative and positive trigger is crucial, especially when you are starting your mental health journey. Ask yourself questions like do social meetings or events trigger you? Do you always get angry in a particular situation? Does some action provoke you? And whatever answer you get to make a note of it.
The most important thing you will learn in mental health treatment is managing your trigger. The more you know your trigger, the better your psychiatrist can guide you to tackle it.
Your psychiatrist can ask you for some information relating to logistics. These questions can include the word about your primary care provider, their address, and phone number. Moreover, the doctor can also ask you which pharmacy you go to and their contact number.
By having this information noted down, you do not have to scramble during the session. You can avoid all the rush of collecting data for submission.
- Be on time
Try to be on time. Do not purposely delay your session so that you have to sit in the session for less time. But also understand if the session gets postponed because of some other patient’s session in progress. You must keep in mind that the patient struggles too, with mental issues and may need more time with his/her appointment.
These points may not be enough for all psychiatrists as every psychiatrist work in different ways. So, if your psychiatrist asks, any other things take care of it. Also, if you feel you need any other stuff, follow your instinct.
- Prepare yourself for the appointment.
It’s essential to prepare yourself before appearing for the appointment. This preparation is not only for the physical aspect; it also includes your emotional part. So prepare a list of everything you are feeling and even the questions you have for the doctor.
Do not stick any label on your triggers or feelings; let him see you inside-out. Your cover-up could un-intentionally influence a therapist; hence the effect can fall on your diagnosis. Taking this suggestion reduces the chance of your problems getting covered up and gives the right kind of treatment.
However, if you feel anxious while writing down points, you should take some time off. Also, remember you need to write down your feelings; you don’t need to explain them, make a pattern or diagnose it.
Why list is important
It would help if you understood the importance of list so that you remember to keep track of your feeling otherwise we are sometimes forgetful. Moreover, when you break your feelings down into a more straightforward manner, you are painting a clearer picture for your doctor. It’s tough for you to understand how it’s affecting your life, in a short span. However, if you have not listed it, you don’t have to worry much about it.
Sometimes you will not understand how you are feeling at first. But as you continue the therapy, you will understand your emotions and how to control them gradually. Just do not rush, give it some time. Moreover, remember that even if the sessions are going well and you are recovering. Still, if the relationship between you and your doctor does not fit; it’s ok to get a second opinion or a new therapist. There are cases where the first psychiatrist is not the one for you.