During my journey to depression, I have met many other people with depression, as well as people without mental illness. The reason I mention this is because I am amazed at how few people know what a psychiatrist actually does.
For example, many people I’ve talked to think that all a psychiatrist does is write prescriptions for medication, and that’s it!
The simple truth is that psychiatrists do much more than write prescriptions for medication…
… psychiatrists are doctors whose specialty is mental health (depression is just one area of mental health in which they specialize).
This means that they can use treatments such as *cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) – see the note below this article for the definition of these terms – and are allowed to prescribe medication.
Not everyone with depression sees a psychiatrist, but in my extensive (20+ years!) experience with depression, I find that the combination of seeing a psychiatrist and taking antidepressant medication is the most effective in managing my depression.
10 things to consider when finding a psychiatrist
To start, you’ll probably need to get a referral letter from your general practitioner. But don’t worry, most GPs already have a list of their favorite psychiatrists they can refer you to. I use the term “favorite” because your doctor is an excellent source of referrals, as his or her patients often give him or her feedback on which psychiatrists are most successful. Your doctor will also have heard from other doctors about which psychiatrists are getting good results.
Be clear with your doctor about whether you prefer to see a male or female psychiatrist. I say this because when I was referred to my very first psychiatrist, he was a man and I didn’t feel comfortable with him (or the next two male psychiatrists!). This is really a personal choice. I personally find that I can be more open and say what I want with a female psychiatrist than with a male.
Once you have a referral, call the psychiatrist’s office and make an appointment. Don’t be discouraged if you have to wait several weeks for an appointment, as this seems to be the standard time frame.
At your first appointment (usually about an hour) with your psychiatrist, it is really about getting to know you. The psychiatrist will ask you many questions in order to better understand you and what you want from him/her. It is unlikely that CBT will take place at this first appointment.
Please pay special attention to this factor when searching for a psychiatrist. Even if you have had to wait a few weeks for an appointment, but do not feel comfortable with the psychiatrist for any reason, do not feel pressured to see him or her again.
Believe me, during the past 20 years, I have had to see more psychiatrists than I care to remember, before I found one who I could work with and trust. The defining factor in every one of my first appointments was this “Is this psychiatrist listening to me?” If I felt that they weren’t, then I would swiftly move on to the next psychiatrist. My point here is that if a psychiatrist is not listening to you, then how on earth can they talk to you about how you feel and what issues you may have. The answer is simple: they can’t! I will let you in on a secret… …psychiatry is just like any profession, there are great people and then there are some very ordinary individuals. My advice to you is don’t give up! Go and see someone else. I am well aware that it may be difficult for you to deal with your feelings and finding someone who you enjoy talking to – but it’s well worth it to persevere.
At your first appointment, I suggest that you bring up the issue of privacy. How best to approach this? Well, I got my psychiatrist to agree that any information that I provide during an appointment is private. Seriously, you should know your rights! And those rights include your psychiatrist keeping what you tell them confidential, unless you give them express permission to waive that right. It would be amiss of me if I did not point out that there are very limited circumstances where they can break this confidentiality. These circumstances are: When a court of law orders them to provide information, o If the psychiatrist believes that you or someone else is at risk of serious harm. I urge you not to let these rare circumstances deter you from finding a psychiatrist. In over 20 years, my information has never been shared with anyone without my consent.
Another factor to consider in finding a psychiatrist, is the cost. Don’t be afraid to ask a psychiatrist how much they charge. If you are unable to afford a private psychiatrist, then in most instances if you see a psychiatrist who works at a community health centre or for the government in a hospital, then you won’t have to pay anything.
Let’s say that you have applied the 8 factors above in finding a psychiatrist who you are comfortable with. Good on you – I mean that! You are well on your way to managing your depression. For most people the urge to resist medication is very strong – I am one of those people! So when my psychiatrist (number 5 or 6, I forget!), discussed prescribing an anti-depressant for me, I was totally against it. Why? Because if I had to take anti-depressants then that must mean that I am not “normal”! Oh boy, how naive I was back then! I have since learnt that taking anti-depressants is a very effective way to manage my depression – in fact, I would go so far as to say that anti-depressants have saved my life…literally. Now I know that is a bold statement, but it happens to be true. Without seeing a psychiatrist AND taking my medication, there is no way that I would have the great quality of life that I have now.
This factor follows on from factor 9. Once you have gone through the necessary steps for find a psychiatrist, it is important to take their advice – they are the experts after all. But if you don’t agree or understand their advice, then tell them. This will give the psychiatrist an opportunity to explain their reasoning and thoughts on why CBT, IPT and/or medication may be suitable for you.
Okay, that’s it! See, it really is not that difficult finding a Neuro center Dubai just keep these 10 factors in mind and I am sure that you will find a great psychiatrist