For proper mental health treatment, you must first find the right psychiatrist. This may seem like a daunting task at first because you may not know exactly where to start. We recommend you ask your primary care doctor to recommend a few and then do your own research. Unfortunately, not all psychiatrists are the same, which means there are bound to be some that are less than stellar. While you’re searching for the right one, we suggest that you keep these 6 warning signs in mind.
1. Not Getting a Thorough Medical History: When you meet your psychiatrist for the first time, they should schedule a longer appointment. At this appointment your doctor will ask you thorough questions about your medical history and any medications you are currently taking. If your doctor does not ask you about medications you are currently taking and prescribes you medicine at that visit, this is red flag.
2. No Discussions About Adjusting Treatment Over Time: During the course of your treatment, your psychiatrist should be talking to you about how you are doing. They should consider different options, like switching medications, adjusting the doses and timing of your medications over time, or even stopping certain medications.
3. You Don’t Feel Listened To: Your psychiatrist should always listen to what you have to say because it’s crucial to your treatment plan and recovery. If you feel as though your psychiatrist isn’t listening to you, bring it to their attention to see if things change. If not, it’s a sign that they’re not taking good care of you.
4. Only Spend a Very Short Time with You Before Handing You a Prescription: Knowing the proper medication to prescribe takes knowledge of your condition. If your psychiatrist only spends a few minutes with you before handing you a prescription, you should consider a change.
5. They Do Not Feel Comfortable Saying “I Don’t Know”: No one has all of the answers, and this includes psychiatrists. If your psychiatrist doesn’t know something, they shouldn’t have an issue saying so and finding out the answer. If your doctor has a difficult time saying “I don’t know”, it may be their ego talking.
6. They Have a Negative or Even Angry Reaction When You Look Information up on the Internet: The internet is full of useful information and your doctor shouldn’t be angry that you’re trying to be proactive. However, there is a lot of misinformation available, too, and your doctor should calmly discuss with you what is accurate and what is not.
If your doctor is showing any of these signs, you should consider searching for a new one. Don’t ignore these warning signs as it could negatively impact your mental health, treatment, and recovery. Finding the right “fit” with a psychiatrist can take some effort on your part but it is worth it!
Live Mentally Healthy,
Dr. Jennie Byrne