Seeing a psychiatrist for the first time can be both exciting and a little bit scary. If you have been struggling with mental health problems for a while, then this is a very smart, and likely necessary, step. However, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the psychiatry profession, and there are is sadly still some stigma associated with seeing a psychiatrist. This can cause a little apprehension, but if you know what to expect during your first appointment, then you can approach it from a calmer, more prepared perspective. Without further ado, here's what to expect.
1. You'll Be Asked to Share Your Medical History
Remember that psychiatrists are doctors. They have attended medical school, and they take a medical approach to dealing with mental health issues. As such, to best treat you, they will want to know about your medical history. Make sure you are honest and thorough when sharing your history. Don't leave anything out even if you think it's irrelevant. There could be an association to your mental health that you never thought of.
2. You'll Be Asked Some Open-Ended Questions
Your psychiatrist will probably not dig too deep into your worries and concerns during this first appointment, but they will seek to get a broad overview of what's bothering you and what's bringing you in to see them. Expect a lot of open-ended questions such as "what has been bothering you" and "what symptoms have you been dealing with." It might help to write out your answers to some of these questions beforehand so that you've already thought of your responses and can be more thorough.
3. You'll Chat About Medications and Other Options
Many people assume they'll just be given medication and be sent out the door after their first psychiatry appointment. But this is not necessarily the case. Pychiatrists generally aim to work with you. After getting a good idea of what's bothering you, they will discuss various treatment options. Some of these options may involve medication, but if you would rather try a non-medicated route first, most psychiatrists will be open to that. Either way, you'll come up with a plan to move forward, which will likely include additional appointments and some type of therapy, be it cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, or another approach.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of what to expect during your first psychiatry appointment. If you have any additional questions, then reach out to a psychiatrist in your area.