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Old 30-03-2016, 12:51 PM   #1
[pretty on the inside]
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Preparing for Psychiatrist Appt

Hi! I know I haven't posted here in a long time, but I thought this community was exactly the right place to come for advice on this question. I hope that's okay.

I have an appointment with a psychiatrist in April - finally, after months of pushing! The plan is for the psychiatrist to see if a formal diagnosis is appropriate before the psychotherapy team can see if they can help me, but I'm not sure exactly what they're looking for. A CBT therapist suggested that avoidant personality disorder might be something to look into, but I'm a little dubious.

Anyway, the big question is how do I prepare? In the past I have had assessments with various teams where I've just been discharged afterwards for appearing to be fine, and I've not put in this much effort to get to see someone for that to happen again. I wonder if I should do some reading, or if I should avoid reading up about mental health conditions? Should I prepare a list of everything I feel is wrong to make sure I say everything that needs to be said?

How did you prepare for your first psychiatrist appointment? What was the outcome?

Thanks for reading :)


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Old 30-03-2016, 01:05 PM   #2
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I think that reading about potential mh conditions is a bad thing because you don't know how accurate some sites are. Also psychs don't diagnose based on one appointment but several appointments. It can take many months to get a diagnosis.

I do think that taking a list of your feelings/symptoms is a good thing as if you're feeling overwhelmed you may forget things.

The best thing is to be as honest as possible during the appointment don't down play your symptoms. I don't mean that you have to be over dramatic but if you want help don't be dismissive.

Most psych ' s are nice people but remember that they are there to help you. If they offer medication and you find the side effects terrible get in touch asap as there are so many alternatives available which can be more tolerable.

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Old 30-03-2016, 04:24 PM   #3
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There is site called which is designed to help with first GP appointments about mental health but it probably fits for most appointments.

I try to think about ...

what symptoms bother me most days and how my worst days manifest themselves.
How long have I been struggling and what happened/didn't happen just before this time, once an episode was triggered by a stressful period being over.
What adjustments am I having to make in my day to day life to manage my mental health - time off work, avoiding certain situations etc.
What things have I tried so far to help with how I am feeling

My current psychiatrist gets me to fill in anxiety and depression questionnaires before appointments which have been good at highlighting the bits of my life that are being impacted the most and get the conversation started.

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Old 30-03-2016, 09:24 PM   #4
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Basically just clear your mind. If you're familiar with mental health diagnoses you may know what disorder goes to which question and answer how you think you should. Don't do that it just sets you up for failure. Be honest and only look into your diagnosis after they give you one



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Old 05-04-2016, 09:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies :) The psych should already have a letter that I wrote for the doctor detailing my problems, but things change so I will definitely be writing down my current symptoms in a way that doesn't downplay them. (I think that's been my problem before - it's so easy to downplay things, especially when I find it difficult to express myself under pressure.)

Good point re: reading up - I hadn't considered that. One of the things that prompted me to really push for a psychiatrist appointment was reading a couple of articles about how ADD and Asperger's syndrome are often missed or misdiagnosed in girls/women, and untreated they can lead to many of the difficulties I've experienced. I don't know if that would be worth mentioning to the psychiatrist, or just seeing what they think based on my symptoms.


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