Preparing for your appointment
You may start by seeing your doctor, or your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider,
such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.
What you can do
Before your appointment, make a list of:
Any symptoms you're experiencing and for how long, to help determine what kinds of events are likely to make you feel angry or upset.
Key personal information, including traumatic events in your past and any current major stressors.
Your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed.
Any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you're taking, and the dosages.
Questions to ask your mental health provider so that you can make the most of your appointment.
Take a trusted family member or friend along, if possible, to help remember the details.
In addition, someone who has known you for a long time may be able to ask helpful questions or share important information.
Some basic questions to ask your mental health provider include:
What type of disorder do you think I have?
Could I have other mental health conditions?
What is the goal of treatment?
What treatments are most likely to be effective for me?
How much do you expect my quality of life may improve with treatment?
How often will I need therapy sessions, and for how long?
Would family or group therapy be helpful in my case?
Are there medications that can help my symptoms?
I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
Are there any brochures or other printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your mental health provider:
To better understand your symptoms and how they're affecting your life, your mental health provider may ask:
What are your symptoms?
When do these symptoms occur, and how long do they last?
How do your symptoms affect your life, including school, work and personal relationships?
How do you feel — and act — when others seem to criticize or reject you?
Do you have any close personal relationships? If not, why do you think that is?
What are your major accomplishments?
What are your major goals for the future?
How do you feel when someone needs your help?
How do you feel when someone expresses difficult feelings, such as fear or sadness, to you?
How would you describe your childhood, including your relationship with your parents?
Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, such as a personality disorder?
Have you been treated for any other mental health problems? If yes, what treatments were most effective?
Do you use alcohol or street drugs? How often?
Are you currently being treated for any other medical conditions?
Don't be afraid to ask questions. There are NO stupid questions when it comes to the endless complexities of the human brain.
They are there to help you and will be expecting your inquisitions.