Facing a mental health problem can be scary. Chances are, you might be nervous about reaching out to a psychiatrist in Dallas and meeting them for the first time. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for your first session may help you cope with any pre-appointment anxiety.
Have your insurance card and health information ready
You’ll need to provide your psychiatrist with some basic information such as your address, phone number, and where you might work. If you’re using health insurance to pay for your sessions, you’ll also need to supply your insurance card.
Be prepared to reveal your mental health history–if you’ve ever been diagnosed with a disorder, if there’s any family history of mental illness, as well as your experience with psychiatric medication, if any.
The psychiatrist will also need to know about your general health such as any past or current conditions and if you’re taking any non-psychiatric medicine or supplements. You may even be asked to take some medical tests so that your psychiatrist can determine if your physical health is negatively affecting your mental health.
Be prepared to answer questions
During your first visit, your psychiatrist will want to get to know you so that they can evaluate your needs. They’ll listen to your concerns, and they will also ask a lot of open-ended questions about your personal life and the mental health symptoms you may be experiencing. In addition to understanding your reason for seeking help and your goals, here are some other things they may want to assess:
- If you’re facing a difficult life situation
- If you have an emotional support system
- If you’re depressed or at risk to harm yourself
- If you’re experiencing a serious mental health disorder
- If you’re abusing alcohol or drugs
The conversation may feel overwhelming, embarrassing, or even frustrating. Don’t be surprised if you become emotional. These are all normal feelings. Understand that your psychiatrist is there to help you and not to judge you. There are no wrong answers. And it’s important to remain open and to answer all of the questions truthfully.
Also, be honest about everything you’re feeling about the process as well as any mental health symptoms you’ve experienced and what you think might trigger them. You may find it helpful to write down, ahead of time, any troubling symptoms or behaviors as well as what you may have been doing when they occurred. This way you won’t forget any details if you get nervous.
Be ready for your treatment plan
At the end of your session your psychiatrist will explain your diagnosis and go over the plan for treating your condition. They’ll discuss whether you need medication, outpatient therapy or more intensive care, as well as any other necessary tests or procedures.
If you are unsure about why you received a specific diagnosis or what the next steps are, ask your psychiatrist to explain it to you. Take notes and write down key instructions so that you can refer back to them. You can also reach out to your psychiatrist later with additional questions.
What if they’re not right for you?
It may take a few sessions before you feel fully comfortable with your psychiatrist, and it may take even longer before you see progress. But what happens if, after a while, you’re still not happy with your relationship or your treatment plan?
It’s okay to explore your options and to get a second opinion–or even a third. Don’t give up until you’ve found a psychiatrist whom you believe can help you reach your mental health goals and guide you toward wellbeing.
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