5 Tips To Help You Prepare For Your Next Psych Appointment
Some people look forward to going to almost all of their psychiatric appointments while others seem to loathe them. At times, it may feel like you have no idea what you’re supposed to talk about or discuss. Then other times, you may feel like you have way too much to bring up or go over that it can feel a bit overwhelming. These things happen to everyone from time to time.
When we prepare for our mental health appointments in advance, it can make things so much easier for both you and your psychiatrist and it may also feel like everything runs a lot smoother as well. You want to make sure that you get the most out of every appointment in order for you to be able to continue down the path to mental wellness and stability.
Here are five tips that can help you prepare for your next psych appointment!
Make A List Of Questions To Ask
If you have any questions that come up in between your appointments, it is best to always jot them down and make a list. This is especially true if you have any questions or concerns about your medications. It doesn’t matter how minor or major you think the question is; it is always a good idea to ask. Chances are, that you will not be the first person to ask your doctor whatever question has come to your mind; and you definitely won’t be the last! You can either write your questions down on paper or use a memo or note app on your smartphone. It doesn’t matter how you write your questions down, as long as you are writing them down.
Make A List Of Important Things That Have Been Happening
Life can get hectic from time to time, and we all go through our own battles, struggles, and journies. If you have had something major (or minor) happen to you that has affected your life or mental health in any way, make a note about it so you remember to discuss it with your doctor at your next appointment.
We don’t always remember to bring everything up that we’ve been longing to tell our doctors. But when it is written down, you will always remember. Sometimes things can get jumbled inside of our minds and we forget; it’s human nature. We aren’t perfect. So, when important things happen either pull our your notebook or your smartphone and make a list as things come up!
Create A Current Medication List
We like to think that our doctors are already aware of all the medications that we are taking. But the truth is if you see more than one doctor that theory usually goes right out the window. Even if your doctors are all within the same network, there is always room for error. Sometimes certain things may not get entered properly, or there may be some changes that haven’t been noted yet.
With that being said, it is always a good idea to make a medication list of everything that you take and bring it to every appointment. You should also include what over the counter supplements that you are taking as well. Sometimes certain things may interact and we may not even know it.
They also make apps that you can download right to your smartphone where you can enter a current medication and supplement list this way you always have it on you. My all-time favorite medication app is created by Drugs.com. With that app, you can also check for interactions yourself and if you see anything suspicious pop up you can always address it with your doctor. Doctors are human too, and sometimes they can make honest mistakes.
Make A List Of Your Symptoms
When you are dealing with mental health, you are typically bound to have some sort of bothersome symptoms happening from time to time. If you get to your psych appointment and all of a sudden can’t recall what your most troubling symptoms have been since your last appointment, your doctor won’t be able to properly treat you or adjust your medication(s).
This can be where mood tracking comes in handy. When you track your mood, you can get a clear view of how you have been doing and what your worst symptoms are.
If mood tracking isn’t for you, take note of what your symptoms are and write them down on a list so that you can be sure to mention them to your doctor. You can even prepare the list a few days before your appointment and add to it if you need to.
Have You Had Any Med Related Side Effects?
Nobody likes to have unwanted side effects from the medications that are supposed to be helping them. But it happens more often than not for many people. If you notice that you are having some side effects from your medications, make note of it and create a list of the side effects that are bothersome to you.
When you are on multiple medications, it can oftentimes become tricky to pinpoint which med is causing the side effects. That is why it can be so important to pay close attention to your body and mood after starting a new med. Sometimes a new medication can also interact with something that you have been on for a while.
Have you been feeling groggier than usual? Have you developed a tremor in your hands? Are your moods gotten worse? Have you gained or lost a significant amount of weight unexpectedly after starting a new med? The possibilities are endless when it comes to what side effects one may experience when starting something new.
These five tips are just a few of the main ways you can prepare for your next psych appointment. The good thing about this list is that it can be universally used for almost any appointment. Making notes about what’s going on with you only takes a few minutes if you jot it down right away compared to waiting until right before your appointment. You can always add to the list or remove stuff as time goes on.
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Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.