As you prepare for your first session with a psychiatrist, remember to bring a detailed list of your medical history, insurance cards, a list of medications, and any questions you have. You may have a lot of questions or nerves leading up to the session and that’s okay!

Patients have a lot to remember from paperwork to insurance cards for their first session with a psychiatrist. Whether patients are seeing a psychiatrist in Austin, Phoenix, or somewhere else, here’s what to have ready:

Medical history

Before the appointment begins, patients will likely complete forms to provide any relevant medical history. Patients should review their medical history before the appointment. This includes all medications, previous treatments, and diagnoses.

Insurance cards and information

If a patient’s appointment is covered by insurance, they should bring their insurance cards and information. Ensure that all information is accurate and up to date. This will help the psychiatrist process the claim accurately and in a timely manner.

List of medications

Patients should be prepared to provide a list of all medications they are taking, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Medications can interact with each other and can even play a role in diagnosis – so, what medication a patient is taking can affect both the diagnosis and treatment plan.

Symptoms and issues to address

When a patient arrives at the psychiatrist’s office, they should know what they want to address during the appointment and what they want to get out of it. This may include getting a diagnosis and receiving a treatment plan. To prepare, patients can put together a list of any symptoms or issues they want to address. Patients should be prepared to talk about everything from anxiety to difficulty sleeping to changes in mood.

Any questions they want to ask

Patients should also come prepared with anything they want to ask. It can be helpful to create a list of questions in advance so the patient doesn’t forget to ask something important. Patients might want to ask questions like:

  • What is the psychiatrist’s approach to treatment?
  • When should the patient schedule a follow-up appointment?
  • Does the psychiatrist have any experience dealing with these symptoms or issues?
  • Are there any other resources or specialists the psychiatrist recommends?

If the psychiatrist prescribes medication, the patient may want to ask questions like:

  • What is the medication used to treat?
  • How/when should the medication be taken?
  • Are there any side effects or interactions to worry about?
  • How/when will the patient know if the medication is working?
  • Are there alternative options available?

Assessing whether the psychiatrist is a good fit

At the end of the session, patients can assess whether they felt comfortable and heard. It may take a few sessions before a patient knows if their psychiatrist is a good fit, but at the end of the first session, they should be able to assess how well they connect with their clinician.

Patients can consider whether their questions were answered sufficiently and whether they have a clear plan moving forward. If any questions remain unanswered or if anything made them feel uncomfortable or ashamed, the psychiatrist may not be a good fit.

The bottom line

Patients may have a lot of questions or even some nerves leading up to the session – that’s okay! It’s important to feel comfortable with a clinician, so take some time to decide whether a psychiatrist is the right fit.

Read the full Wall Street Call article with sources. Want to learn more about your mental health? Visit our Patient Resources for articles, tips, and education from Mindpath Health’s expert clinicians.

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