Going to see a psychiatrist? Make sure you are ready! Before you come in for your first psychiatrist appointment get prepared by answering the following questions. If you do this, we will spend less time recreating your history and more time talking about the reasons you have come in for the psychiatric appointment. If you are seeing a psychiatrist for the first time try to answer these 16 questions before your appointment.
Try to learn as much as you can about your family’s medical and psychiatric history. In some families, mental health is a taboo topic and not openly discussed. Try to think if there is one person who may be easier to talk to and ask them.
Knowing your family history before your psychiatric appointment can help us to come up with a more accurate diagnosis and plan.
If you are going to see a psychiatrist, think about your own past mental health history. If you can’t remember details, ask your family if they remember. You can also contact your previous psychiatrist to see if they still have records.
If you are struggling to come up with your medication history see if you can get it from your pharmacy. I have had people be able to get a medication printout for the previous 10 years. Although it can be cumbersome to sort through, it can provide valuable history.
Write up a general timeline for your history and the medicine you have tried. Details to include on the timeline are:
If we have a list of your past medications, we can come up with a more accurate picture of what works for you and what doesn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t need to have everything figured out and conceptualized before your first psychiatric appointment. The more questions from this list that you are able to answer before you come in, the more time we get to talk about why you are seeing a psychiatrist. Its win-win!
Do your best to organize your thoughts but don’t stress out about it. It doesn’t need to be perfect. You may find it helpful to write down your answers and bring them to the appointment.
A version of this article first appeared here.
Dr. Melissa Welby is a psychiatrist that participates in people’s process of discovery, empowerment, and search for satisfaction and happiness. She treats a variety of illnesses including depression, anxiety & panic attacks, adult ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders), bipolar disorder, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and borderline personality disorder. She is also the current president of the Connecticut Psychiatric Association.She completed her Internship & Residency at Cambridge Hospital, affiliate of Harvard Medical School, 2000 to 2004. Dr. Melissa Welby is Board Certified in General Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2005 to present.