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Deciding to seek help from a psychiatrist is the first and most important step towards overcoming your mental struggles. The next important step is to find a competent psychiatrist whom you trust enough to open up to. The role of a psychiatrist is more than just prescribing medication. A psychiatrist must first diagnose the patient correctly and prescribe suitable meds while keeping their lifestyle and responsibilities in mind. If a doctor diagnoses a single parent properly but prescribes them a medical regimen that results in them sleeping for 14 hours, it would be highly inconvenient for them. Thus finding the right psychiatrist must be given more thought than most people usually do as the right doctor is essential for one’s recovery.
Choosing a psychiatrist for yourself or your loved ones does not have to be overwhelming. However, do not choose the first option that comes up when you Google ‘psychiatrist near me’. Try not to rush the process of searching for a doctor and put some time into figuring out your requirements and choose a psychiatrist accordingly. Here are some simple factors that you must keep in mind while choosing the right psychiatrist for you:
Start by making a list of all potential psychiatrists. You can take referrals from your primary healthcare provider, clinic and even from your insurance company. You can also talk to people that you know to give you psychiatrist recommendations based on who they have dealt with personally. Taking referrals from your close ones will ensure that the referred doctor is actually competent or not, in addition to whether their reviews will be personal and honest.
Another tip while researching the best psychiatrist near your location is to look for doctors with sub-specialties if you already know a bit about your problems or you have already been diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Still, you will want another psychiatrist’s opinion, therefore one of the best options is to look for psychiatrists with a sub-specialty. These doctors are adept at treating more serious cases and can therefore give you better treatment.
2. Experience and Credentials
Once you have a small list of potential psychiatrists, it is time to look at their credentials as well as their experience. Researching a psychiatrist’s credentials will tell you about their sub-specialties and if they have any academic affiliations. Psychiatrists who teach psychiatry might be more familiar with scientific research and thus be able to provide a better option concerning more complicated cases.
You can screen the doctors based on their specialty board certifications and education. Furthermore, you can find out their experience with the age group that you or your loved ones belong to. If you want a psychiatrist for your child, you will want to look for someone who has certifications pertaining to child and adolescent psychiatry.
3. Read Patient Reviews
Referring to patient reviews can give you an insight into other people’s experience of a particular doctor’s treatment. You can read what other patients have to say about the psychiatric clinic’s environment, their staff’s behavior, the waiting time, the convenience of the appointment scheduling and, most importantly, the doctor’s treatment.
4. Consult the Psychiatrist
Try to assess their communication style as well as their practice and treatment style during the initial consultation process with your psychiatrist. It can take months and even years to get better through therapy and medications. Over time, you will need to build a relationship of trust with the doctor in order to feel comfortable enough to share your troubles and worries. Thus it is imperative that you find a psychiatrist who will put you first instead of your illness, who will consider your life goals, address your queries and concerns and give you the chance to make a shared decision about your treatment plan.
5. Insurance Coverage
The last step is to enquire about the insurance coverage of the psychiatrist. If you are worried about how much the treatment and overall medication will cost you, opt for a psychiatrist who participates in your insurance plan. Doctors who do not have any such insurance plans for their patients will have quite a high fee. If you are struggling with paying for your care, your best option will be to choose someone who comes under your insurance coverage, even if they are not your first choice.
You cannot hasten the process of finding a good psychiatrist. It takes a lot of time, effort and research to find a doctor who can give you the proper treatment while still making you feel comfortable enough to open up about your struggles. You may find a psychiatrist with years of experience and an impressive education and certifications. But, if you do not feel secure and comfortable about sharing everything with them, they will not give you the proper treatment that you need.