I had an appointment with my psychiatrist tonight. It was one of the best appointments I have had with him. I know and understand the importance of having and maintaining a good relationship with my p-doc. We discuss bipolar and psychotic symptoms as well as side effects from the psychotropic medicines I am on. Being comfortable with my psychiatrist is crucial in me being able to communicate topics that could be uncomfortable.
My Appointment with my Psychiatrist — Neurology Appointment
Tonight, we were meeting to discuss my last appointment with my neurologist and for me to give an update on my symptoms. The neurologist decided to put me on an anti-seizure medicine called Keppra. He also took me off one of my mood stabilizers, Topamax. He felt the Topamax was the reason for the slowing of my left frontal lobe.
My psychiatrist explained to me that back in the day when Keppra was first on the scene for seizures, the drug manufactures marketed Keppra to be used off-label as a bipolar medicine. The p-doc said that it actually helped bipolar symptoms. He believed the addition of Keppra to my medicine regiment will not only hopefully benefit me from a seizure stand point but also as a mental illness drug.
Bipolar Symptoms — Suicidal Ideation
Soon the discussion turned to my bipolar. I talked with my p-doc about the suicidal ideations I was having a few months ago.
The p-doc asked me how often I have these thoughts. I told him the thoughts of killing myself were not an ongoing conversation in my head. He did tell me if I needed to go to the hospital to get more help to let him know. Being assured of my plan to combat the thoughts when the time comes again, the psychiatrist reiterated that having positive thoughts to counteract the negative will help bring me from the darkness to the light.
I have gone through four different psychiatrists. I dearly loved my first one. The second psychiatrist I had been with the longest until he no longer accepted my insurance. One psychiatrist didn’t believe I had bipolar. This last one is nearing retirement. I will be back on the scene looking for my fifth p-doc.
Finding the Right Psychiatrist
- Check with your insurance company. They may have a website where you can pick specifiers like gender, expertise and miles from your house.
- Pick a psychiatrist who specializes in your mental illness.
- Pick a psychiatrist who specializes in an area that you want to explore for yourself i.e. OCD, social anxiety, AD/HD. You might think you have a symptom of OCD and would like to speak with a specialist about it.
- Don’t settle. If the psychiatrist you picked is not what you thought he/she would be, go back to the drawing board and pick another one to try out.
- Ask your therapist or your PCP for a list of psychiatrists they may know that would make a good fit in your treatment.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you have any more ideas or if you have experiences to share about your psychiatrist hunt, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.