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Old 09-26-2006, 11:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What can I expect from psychiatrist?

Hi all,
I just found this site and think its great. I'm a newbie. I have been seeing a psychologist for depression/anxiety disorder and she recently referred me to a psychiatrist for possible medication, since therapy alone doesn't seem to be working.

Having never seen a psychiatrist, what can I expect from him? My appointment is next week. How do they diagnose? Are there blood tests?

Also, assuming he will recommend meds (actually, I hope he does, because I've suffered from severe depression for most of my life and chose to live with it vs. admitting it and getting help), how long before I notice that I am coming out of the fog of depression? I have on several occasions tried to self medicate with alcohol and hope that the meds will be effective enough to take away my desire to do that.

Thanks for any advice.

-CheeChee
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Old 09-26-2006, 11:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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hi,

i have a very similar situation, went a very long time ignoring depression/anxiety and self medicated with drugs/alcohol.. i finally decided to get sober and see a therapist who recommended me to a psych.

i went to my first psych visit last week, and this is how it went. it was about an hour and a half, and she first asked me a ton of questions but would not let me talk about the present at first, only past... then when she got enough info on past, she let me talk about present and what brought me there etc.

then i filled out some questionaires etc, and she looked at them, and asked a few questions about some of my answers. then she gave me a starter pack of zoloft and perscribed me with something else.

i think you're only supposed to go back to the psych every couple months or so for med management, but she wants me back every week at first until we get the type/dosage etc right.

it's not so bad, and it's good that you're getting the help you need~!
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I was mandated to see a psychiatrist after a drug relapse in January 03'. That was in lieu of a professional license that was in limbo due to drug problems. I actually started with a psychiatrist who I found attrocious, and then moved on to a Psycholgist I knew who's also a nurse practitioner... thus he could med manage + do psychotherapy. After about a year from him he referred me to another nurse practitioner of psychiatry because he went into teaching. This new NP moved to another psychiatrist's practice monthss after I started with her, and now I'm just sticking to this Doctor's practice... she's moved on again. I've had bad luck as these Psychologist/NP's moving from practice to practice like the wind... not something a mentally ill person needs.

My first visit with this Psychiatrist (my current one) was awesome. I went into full blown detail about my addiction history, and he also got me to look at several factors in my ealrly childhood that I had forgotten or buried. I've been bipolar since childghood, but they didn't have all the psychology/ADHD/child bipolar stuff in the 70's. I was hyperactive, delinquent (not very bad though) even though I had a solid supportive family, an insomniac... just all kinds of stuff that's bizarre for a 5 year old. My mother later backed up all these abnormalities of my youth... which she just thought were growing issues.

To answer you question (sorry for my tangent), you should be comfortable with your psychiatrist. He won't spend much time generally on follow-up visitis as his specialty is medications, but the first visit may be extensive. it should be really. It varies on the Doc. I love my psychiatric practice, and I can admit any thoughts/feelings/actions without any feelings of embarassment. The doc I have now spent about 2 1/2 hours with me my first visist. The first doc I had did a 1/2 hour initial visit.

You should be comfortable and feel cared for. That's it in a nutshell for me. My docotr is special and I'm grateful I found him. He works with mental illness and addiction... my two problems in life.
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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welcome! this will be short b/c i'm pressed for time, but...

the pdoc most likely will prescribe meds based on what you've said above. Most meds take 4-6 weeks before any benefits start to kick in. But the worst part of all is the med game is just that....on average it takes about 2 years to figure out the right dosage and type of meds for an individual, but that doesn't mean that you won't get some beneficial results in the mean time....it's just hard to find the BEST mix....so many of us end up feeling like ginni pigs before a set of meds is finally satisfactory.

Unless you asked for an in-depth diagnosis....then you probably won't take any tests, but if you do they will probably be brief. Most of the time, a visit with a pdoc is very similar to talking with you therapist....except the good pdocs ask very specific lines of questions depending on what they think might be going on.

Usually, no blood tests are done....unless you are put on mood stabalizers like Lithium or Depakote that require monthly monitoring...and then it will still come after you've been on the meds a while.

I actually went through a psycholigist for a 4-hour diagnositic screening, but I had to ask specifically for it.

Just don't be afraid and be sure and be honest and open....the docs can't read our minds....so everything depends on you telling them how you're feeling and how bad and for how long.

Hugs,
JEnna
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