7 Tips for Preparing for Your Psychiatric Appointment

Updated on September 12, 2017

It is important to be prepared for your psychiatric appointment whether it is for a regular check-up, meeting with a new doctor, or getting your first assessment.

This is true for your psychiatrist, medication prescriber, psychiatric nurse, or assessment worker.

It is important to be prepared so you will get the best and most appropriate treatment available for you.

Many psychiatric doctors are pressed for time with a heavy workload of patients. Therefore your time is vital. You want to address all issues you may have in the time available to you.

Here are seven tips to help your psychiatric appointments go more smoothly.

1. Create a Log

The first step in preparing for your psychiatric appointments is to create a log. Or several logs, if you want to be really organized.

Log the symptoms from your disorder by day or week, as well as side effects of meds. Also keep a log of your medication intake and schedule. If you have a mood disorder, keep a daily log of your highs and lows.

Bring your log with you to your appointments, in case your doctor wants to see it, or if you need it for reference.

2. Make a List

Making a list is one of the most important things you can do to make your appointment with your psychiatrist go more smoothly and efficiently.

Your list should include all medications you are taking and the dosages. Your list should also include any concerns you want to cover during your appointment, including side effects of medications and any symptoms you have been experiencing. This includes any other medical concerns you may have.

Your list should also include any questions you have for your doctor.

3. Be on Time

Always be on time. In fact, get there 15 minutes early, in case there is any paperwork to fill out, or anything to discuss with the receptionist.

If you are late, you may not have as much time as you need for your appointment, or your appointment may even be cancelled. Some offices have a no-show policy where they will no longer see you if you are late too often.

4. Take Someone With You

It is not essential, but it is a good idea to take someone close to you along to your appointment. Sometimes the doctor would like the opinion of someone close to you, to take a look at your case from another perspective. This could be a parent, a spouse, or an adult child who lives near you.

You will probably be required to sign some form of permission paperwork for this.

5. Bring Your Medications

Bring your medications with you to your appointment. This is especially important if you are going to see a new prescriber or psychiatrist, or if you are getting an assessment. Your doctor may want to see them.

You should bring your psychiatric meds as well as your other medical prescriptions.

6. Questions

It is most likely you will have questions for your doctor about medications, research you've done on your illness and meds, symptoms, or side effects.

Add these questions to your list as they come to you during your time at home, and then bring the list with you to your appointment.

This way you won't forget anything important you need to ask.

7. Be Honest

Always be honest about what you disclose to your doctor.

Be honest in whether you are taking your meds as prescribed, if you are going to therapy if recommended, and if you are taking unprescribed or recreational drugs.

Honesty is important if you want to get the best treatment possible. Also, it can be dangerous if you are taking drugs, which may interfere with your prescribed meds. Your doctor needs to know.

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