A psychiatric consultation is a conversation with a doctor whose main goal is to improve the mental state of the patient. Unfortunately, few people decide to seek such help because they are afraid that the doctor will not understand them. Why are there so many false myths around psychiatry? What does a psychiatric consultation really look like? We have found out when it is worthwhile to seek such a doctor and how to prepare for a consultation.
Who should use psychiatric consultation?
Psychiatric consultations are primarily intended for people who have mental health problems, but also struggle with somatic illnesses that make functioning and performing daily activities difficult. Patients also turn to psychiatrists who want to know the diagnosis of their health condition, implement the doctor’s recommendations, and at the same time change their lifestyle.
Psychiatric consultation – questions to ask yourself before your visit
The question of who should go for a psychiatric consultation is related to a series of questions that you should ask yourself before your first visit to the doctor. These include, for example:
- Are you in crisis?
- Do you have a mood disorder?
- Are you depressed?
- Do you suffer from bipolar disorder?
- Do you feel nervous?
- Are you afraid to leave home?
- Do you suffer from social anxiety disorder?
- Are you troubled by headaches and stomach pains that worsen under high stress?
Only one positive answer justifies a patient going for a psychiatric consultation.
Should you be afraid of a psychiatric consultation?
There are many false pieces of information surrounding psychiatric consultation, and therefore some people are afraid to go to the doctor. However, it is enough to overcome your own fear and realize that talking about your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. A psychiatrist is a doctor whose task is to diagnose and suggest the best form of treatment that would help to cope with specific disorders.
Fear of the first psychiatric consultation – how to deal with it?
To feel fully prepared for the visit, it is worth preparing your medical documentation and a list of medications that the patient is taking, including those prescribed by a family doctor.
Psychiatric consultation – next steps of the visit
During a visit to a psychiatrist, the doctor will check whether the patient exhibits disorders such as:
- orientation disorders – the psychiatrist checks whether the patient has disorders of autopsychic and alopsychic orientation;
- mood disorders – the doctor may ask the patient to rate their mood on a specific scale, for example, from 0 to 10, where 0 would be in depression and 10 in euphoria;
- perceptual disorders – the patient may be asked if they perceive or hear something that goes beyond the effect of a particular sense. This mainly concerns the occurrence of hallucinations related to schizophrenia;
- thought disorders – mainly related to speech tempo and disorders in speaking, which can lead to delusions and obsession. The question of obsession is also associated with all kinds of intrusive thoughts, as well as pressures.
Psychiatric consultation – what else can the doctor ask for?
The psychiatrist may ask the patient about their medical history, as well as events that may seem insignificant at the time of the conversation, as they may not be related to the patient’s illness. A psychiatrist who wants to get to know the patient as well as possible may also ask about the use of psychoactive substances and stimulants (alcohol consumption, smoking), as well as conflicts with the law.
Psychiatric consultation – frequency of meetings
The frequency of subsequent psychiatric consultations will depend on the patient’s symptoms and how many visits they need per week. It could even be 3-4 meetings with the psychiatrist.
During the first consultation, in most cases, the psychiatrist is able to propose a specific treatment plan to the patient and, if necessary, choose appropriate pharmacotherapy.