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Psychiatry: What to Expect at Your First Appointment

therapist explaining to patient about psychiatry and what to expect at your first appointment

Mental health is just as important as physical health to overall well-being. In recent years, the importance of mental health has become better recognized, thereby lessening the stigma of mental health treatment. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States (or 43.8 million people) struggle with mental illness each year. This includes major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders. By seeking mental health treatment from a psychiatrist, your first psychiatry appointment could be the first of many steps to improved mental and emotional well-being.

Connections Wellness Group understands that mental health issues can significantly impact overall health and offers psychiatry services to residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. Call 940.360.4245 today to learn more!

What Is Psychiatry?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have studied to become experts on mental illnesses. This unique combination of medical and mental health training allows them to diagnose mental illnesses and prescribe medications for treatment. Detailed knowledge of how medications interact with one another and which symptoms can indicate an unrelated condition is needed to prescribe and manage medications safely.

What to Expect at Your First Psychiatrist Appointment

In some ways, your first psychiatry appointment will differ from your return visits. Your doctor will need to get to know you by taking a complete medical and psychological history. In addition to any presenting symptoms, the doctor will evaluate situational factors such as genetics and relationship dynamics. The following information will be used to determine the best course of treatment.

Presenting Symptoms

The initial consultation will center around- you guessed it- the symptoms that brought you in. Talking about distressing symptoms and behaviors can be uncomfortable, but it’s essential to be honest with your doctor. Tell them how long you’ve been experiencing the symptoms, if anything seems to make them better or worse, and how they impact your life.

Family and Individual History

Gathering a detailed history will be essential for making a treatment plan. The risk of developing some mental health conditions is higher for those with a blood relative who carries those diagnoses. Your own history is just as vital. Your psychiatrist will likely ask you about any traumas you’ve experienced and any previous diagnoses of mental illness. Stressors that you’re experiencing are also relevant; even minor, everyday stressors can contribute to mental illnesses.

Treatment Plan

After learning about you and your symptoms, your psychiatrist will discuss your options going forward. This may include the following:

  • Further evaluation, such as lab tests
  • Starting or altering medication
  • Getting recommendations for specific forms of counseling or therapy
  • Coordinating with other health professionals, such as a primary care doctor or therapist

If medication is on the table, you’ll have a chance to hear about the benefits and potential side effects of each one. You can decide on medication and begin immediately, or take some time to consider your options. You and your doctor will revisit your treatment plan periodically. Future appointments may be shorter but will give you the opportunity to discuss what’s working and what’s not. Often, it takes some trial and error to find a treatment that works for you. Your mental health is incredibly important. The key to greater well-being is to get the right treatment plan in place through collaboration with your psychiatrist and other health professionals.

Contact Connections Wellness Group Today

Your first psychiatry appointment can be overwhelming and scary. Connections Wellness Group is here to help make the process easier. Our team of experienced psychiatrists provides compassionate care in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Call us today at 940.360.4245 or reach out online to get started on your journey toward improved mental health and well-being.