Finding a Psychiatrist Who is Right for You.

How do you go about finding a psychiatrist who is right for you?

While all medical doctors can prescribe psychiatric medication, only psychiatrists have the specific training in treating psychiatric disorders.

You need to consider your situation. Is your depression mild and annoying or are you so depressed that you can’t get out of bed?If your situation is mild, perhaps you can begin treatment by talking to your primary care doctor. If your situation is complicated, find the best psychiatrist you can.

Finding a psychiatrist, a good one, means doing your research. Check out hospitals with well-known psychiatric departments. Read the doctor’s biography on line. Look for psychiatrists who specialize in depression. See which doctors are conducting psychiatric studies. These psychiatrist are probably the most aware of current changes in the field. Ask people you know and respect for recommendations. Ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation.

Do not insist on finding a psychiatrist within a thirty minute drive. Once you get on the medication that works for you, you may need only to see your psychiatrist once every two or three months.

Find a psychiatrist who will listen to you, but don’t confuse the ability to listen with a pleasant personality. While bedside manner is nice, it is not essential. You are not looking for a marriage partner. One of the best psychiatrists I know has a very odd presentation. He hasn’t the slightest idea when I am telling a joke. He pauses too long between thoughts. He is too serious. He is brilliant.

Before you see your doctor, write down everything you can think of about your mood. Be specific. How sad do you get? How angry? How anxious? Rate these states. How often do your moodsswing? Keep a mood chart. Feel free to copy the Daily Mood Chart offered on this site’s page of the same name or make your own. A mood chart will help your doctor determine the best medication for you. After you start your medication, the mood chart will be your visual indicator of how well the medication is working and will help your psychiatrist make changes. In the notes at the bottom of the chart, describe your present mood state. What is your sadness like? Are you spending the day in bed? Are you thinking about suicide? Do you have a plan? Have you done anything to hurt yourself? Do you feel hopeless?

Take an active role in your medication treatment. Only you know how you feel on your medication. Write down any side effects you experience. Speak up. You have fifteen to thirty minutes for an appointment. Make sure your concerns get heard. Too often, people are afraid to talk to their psychiatrists. They feel their concerns are not valid or that they are taking up too much of their doctor’s time. Your psychiatrist is there for you. If he/she won’t listen to you, find another psychiatrist.