A psychiatrist (MD/DO) or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) are medical professionals trained from the medical model and use psychiatric medications as their primary tool for treating mental health issues. Like most medical professionals they view issues and diagnoses through the lens of chemical imbalances that need adjusting to restore optimal functioning. Most of the preparation you need to do for an intake appointment with a psychiatrist revolves around the types of questions you will be asked. The more information you are able to provide to your psychiatric provider, the better they will be able to diagnose and treat what is going on.

Presenting Concerns

Most mental health clinicians start out by putting the ball into your court. They will typically allow you to lead by sharing, “What brings you in today?” Most psychiatric intakes last 45-50 minutes and there are a lot of questions to ask and answer. Giving some thought to this ahead of time with lend itself to being more concise. For example, if you think you might be dealing with depression, think about how long this has been occurring, what symptoms you have been having, what you think might be driving these issues, and so on. Most people are able to explain their chief concern in 5-10 minutes. At this point, your psychiatrist is going to jump in and take the lead.

Background and History

In order for the psychiatrist to make the most accurate diagnosis they need to see the bigger picture and explore other possible causes to see if there may be other things going on. For example, perhaps the possible depression is stemming from excessive alcohol use. Most psychiatrists start out with general information such as marital status, occupation, education level, and any current stressors such as financial, work, legal, or relational.

Medical and Family History

Psychiatrists are likely to spend a great deal of time talking with you about your medical history. It may be wise to jot down some notes if that helps you. If you have medical diagnoses such as diabetes or past injuries like a car accident resulting in a chronic back injury, details of when these occurred, how they were treated and if they are stable will be very important information. Psychiatric providers are particularly interested in the medications you are currently taking, the dose, how long, and if it is effective. They will also want to know about any past medications you may have tried, for how long, the dose, and the outcome. Additionally, many conditions run in families. Knowing if there is a family history of bipolar, addiction, or OCD is really important to find out before your appointment. If a family member is also being treated for a similar diagnosis, it will help your psychiatrist if you know what they are taking and if it is working well for them.

Will it be Like Therapy?

Some people come in expecting a counseling session. If you are seeking that, you are better off scheduling with a psychologist or therapist. Psychiatric providers are certainly interested in building rapport with you however subsequent sessions quickly become less frequent and spaced further out. Psychiatrists are only peripherally interested in stressors and life events and are not there to help you process these issues. Again, this is the role of a counselor or therapist.

Follow Up Appointments

Your psychiatrist will likely prescribe a medication for you based on the diagnosed issue. They typically start people on the lowest dose to ensure they will tolerate it without adverse side effects. They will likely want to see you back in 30 days to evaluate how well it is working, side effects, and symptom relief, and determine if the dose needs to be increased, or if a different medication should be tried. Once a medication is working well and symptoms are improving, follow-ups occur in greater duration.

Maple Grove Psychiatrists

If you are interested in meeting with someone from our psychiatric team of providers, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an individual consultation with one of our psychiatric providers so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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