Questions About Seeing A Psychiatrist For The First Time

Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions and behavioral disorders. If you've been struggling with your mental health or have behaviors that your doctor suspects may be due to a behavioral disorder, then they may refer you to a psychiatrist. Here are some questions you may have about these doctors and the services they provide.

Will the psychiatrist prescribe you medications?

Psychiatrists do have the ability to prescribe medications. However, whether or not they prescribe medications to you will depend on the nature of your diagnosis and symptoms. While medications are helpful for many patients, they are not for everyone, and they are not the only treatments that psychiatrists provide. The idea that all psychiatrists do is medicate you and send you out the door is a myth. If medication is prescribed to you, it will almost always be part of a larger treatment plan.

What non-medication treatments do psychiatrists provide?

Psychiatrists also tend to offer various forms of psychotherapy. For example, they may offer cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which aims to change your behavioral patterns in response to anxiety and other strong emotions. Many psychiatrists have also begun to prescribe various brain stimulation treatments, such as transcranial electromagnetic stimulation and deep brain stimulation. Your psychiatrist may not actually perform all of these treatments themselves. They may refer you to another specialist who offers them. However, the psychiatrist will evaluate your needs and prescribe the treatments they believe are most suitable.

How long will you have to keep seeing a psychiatrist?

The answer to this question is that it depends. Some patients respond really well to psychiatry and only need a few sessions to figure out a treatment plan that works. Then, they may only need yearly checkups with the psychiatrist. Others may have symptoms or conditions that are harder to treat and require a little more trial and error before arriving at an effective plan. When seeing a new psychiatrist, it is important to realize that their treatments can take some time to work. Have a few sessions with a particular psychiatrist before you decide whether or not they are the right doctor for you.

Seeing a psychiatrist for the first time will go more smoothly once you know what to expect. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask your primary care doctor or the other physician who is referring you.

Contact a psychiatrist for more information.