What to Look for in a Good Psychiatrist

If you are not quite feeling yourself and decide to go in and talk to a psychiatrist (who can prescribe medication), how can you tell if this doctor is right for you? There are a few things to consider when selecting a psychiatrist:

Look for greetings at the door

First, did the psychiatrist seem to prejudge you when they walked through the door to meet you in their office? Look at how questions are asked. If, say, you have a lot of credit debt racked up and they ask you why, did they automatically assume it was from shopping sprees or did they take time to ask you about how you paid your living expenses? This is an important question because you could be (wrongly) labeled as bipolar if you didn’t go crazy with a credit card-but they point you in the direction of their thinking that you did. Once it’s written down in their file, this is what they will see next time you come in for another appointment. It will be much harder the next time to add to your explanation.

Count the numbers

Psychiatrists should be mathematical in his or her approach. How many hours of sleep do you need a night? If you have bouts of depression, are they do to situations or moodiness all the time? How much of the time-10%, 20%, 50%, 75%, 100%? These are questions which can distinguish what exactly you are suffering from. Assumptions cannot. Be careful and beware of misdiagnosis simply because the doctor didn’t listen to your full story-or worse yet-already had you diagnosed without you even knowing it. This is all too common. A wrong diagnosis could lead to the wrong medication for your body. Don’t sell yourself short if you feel you’ve been coerced into answers that are truly not your own.

Old school or new school

Let’s face it, some doctors come from a different way of thinking and a different education. Text books and methods change with time, as do people. Experience may be the best teacher, but a fresh education certainly isn’t harmful. How up-to-date is your psychiatrist on their methods, use of prescribing medication and current information? You might be surprised.

Are you respected

Do you want to return? Did you feel comfortable? Did your doctor shake your hand with a firm, complete and warm handshake when you entered and when you exited? Did he let you complete your sentences, and did he offer feedback? Did you believe it was worth the money? When mutual respect in attained in the doctor’s office, then you will more likely heal faster and receive the right treatment that you need the first time around. Mistakes are costly financially and emotionally. Once harm is done, you may have even more work ahead of you to correct the mistakes of a bad-or at least less effective-doctor.

Keep in contact

If you like this doctor, keep in touch even if you decide to take some time off from visits. Don’t burn your bridges because you never know when you or someone you love may need psychiatrist services again. A good doctor is hard to find. A great doctor may even be harder to keep. Returning to where you felt most comfortable will ease the tension of setting an appointment for a possible re-visit.

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