It’s not uncommon for patients to come to me as their psychologist complaining about their psychiatrist not listening. Unfortunately, this happens all too often and here’s my advice:
1. Feel free to send previous records, but DO NOT expect them to have been reviewed. If they are reviewed, they will do it right before your session or during your session.
2. DO NOT BRING EVERY RECORD YOU HAVE! Bring your history of medications and doses, your most recent (i.e. 3 months) symptoms, and a brief chronological history of your symptoms. WRITE THESE THINGS DOWN SO YOU CAN CHECK THEM OFF AS YOU DISCUSS THEM. Ask your parents and/or siblings for a family history of diagnoses and possible medications taken (there is research on medications working differently with people’s different genetic makeup).
3. Parents, try not to speak for your adolescents. Spouses, try not to speak or your partners.
4. List all other medications and medical diagnoses. Sounds like a no brainer, but the psychiatrist needs this information.
5. Make a list of side effects that will NOT work for you. If you are placed on medication, WE want you to be compliant if there is a no go side effect speak up. (e.g. sexual side effects, weight gain, insomnia, etc.)
6. If you are pregnant or TRYING to get pregnant or NURSING
7. Most of all, ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF! You know yourself better than anyone else. Speak up. The psychiatrist is a doctor, but they DO NOT know everything. They are not there to tell you who you are. They are there to help you feel more yourself.
Your psychologist or therapist can be a healthy help in communicating with your psychiatrist. Feel free to ask them to consult each other and be sure to sign releases and be prepared to pay a fee for the time they spend communicating with each other.