Tips
How to Know When to Change Psychiatrists

by Natasha T. - November 9, 2015


is a professional writer and author for Bipolar Burble. She currently worked as a freelancer for Canadian drug pharmacy.

How to Know When to Change Psychiatrists
About one-in-17 people will suffer from a serious mental illness at some point in their lives in the United States. That is equal to about 19 million people in need of major psychiatric services. While not all of these people will see a psychiatrist, often due to service shortages and limited access, most will. But not all psychiatrists are right for all people, so how do you know if your psychiatrist is right for you and when is it time to get a second opinion or change psychiatrists?

SEE ALSO: How to Find a Good Psychiatrist

How Do You Know if a Psychiatrist is a Fit for You?

Often it’s critical to assess whether a specific psychiatrist is right for you. The person may be very qualified, but that doesn’t mean he or she is your best choice.

One thing to consider is area of specialty. While all psychiatrists are trained to treat all mental illnesses, many specialize in seeing specific types of patients and you want to fall within that group. For example, if a psychiatrist primarily sees patients with affective disorders like depression and bipolar, you may not want him or her to be your doctor if you suffer from a personality disorder. Remember, psychiatry is a huge field and it pays to find a psychiatrist who keeps up to date on your specific needs in that field.

Another thing to consider is communication style. Some psychiatrists are very gruff while others have a softer bedside manner. Some psychiatrists provide a lot of information in appointments while other provide the bare minimum. Which do you prefer? Which do you think can give you what you need in your treatment?

Finally, you may wish to consider hospital affiliations and whether the psychiatrist has others in a practice that can cover for him or her if he or she is unavailable. Not all psychiatrists are in a position to offer this.

How Do You Know if You Need a Second Opinion?

Sometimes in treatment, your psychiatrist does the best job possible, but it still isn’t enough. When this happens, it’s likely time for a second opinion. When you treatment is stagnant and your doctor is stumped, it’s time to go to someone who is even more specialized and see what he or she has to say. Once a second opinion is obtained, your regular psychiatrist can typically carry out the recommended treatment plan.

Another time a second opinion is warranted is when you completely disagree with your psychiatrist’s assessment or treatment plan. If your psychiatrist has diagnosed you with an illness you don’t feel you have or insists on you taking medication you don’t feel is right, a second opinion can help put things in perspective for you.

Knowing When to Change Psychiatrists

If a second opinion isn’t enough, here are some things to consider that may lead you to change psychiatrists altogether:

1. When you psychiatrist won’t stand for, or listen to, a second opinion, it’s likely time to change psychiatrists. Doctors all need to know when it’s time to get outside help and refusing it is likely related to ego.

2. When your psychiatrist just doesn’t listen to what you want, you need to find someone who will. When you’ve tried everything to clearly communicate what you need and want to your psychiatrist but he just doesn’t “get it" or refuses to listen, it’s time to find a psychiatrist that will respond to your needs.

3. When your relationship with your psychiatrist is negative, it’s time to change psychiatrists. Many things can create an unhealthy relationship with a doctor from disagreements, different communication styles, or something like treatment nonadherence. If your relationship has become unhealthy and it doesn’t look like that is going to change, it’s time to look for someone new.

4. When you can’t get on board with a psychiatrist’s treatment plan, you may have to switch psychiatrists. If a doctor won’t prescribe a medication you feel you need or insists or prescribing one you don’t want, it’s likely time to find someone new. Theories on treatment differ, neither is right or wrong, it just may be right or wrong for you.

In all, what matters when you see a psychiatrist is that, over time, you get better. This may be a slow and painful process, but as long as you’re heading in the right direction, you’re probably doing okay. If, however, you have plateaued and your relationship with your psychiatrist is actually impeding your recovery, it’s time to find a new psychiatrist. Remember, your psychiatrist works for you and if he or she is not facilitating your wellness, he or she no longer deserve that job.

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Comments:

Vikram says at 2017-10-26 10:40:41:
Hi Judith,Interesting topic of choice. Youth-Depression & suciide how can we help is the Question? Waiting to be ushered through appointments and settling for an advanced drug regime, in my mind isn't the best alternative. Turning into a teenager comes with many responsibilities and the brain may not be adequately equipped to handle the mountain of info. and expectations placed on them. Did you know the Human Brain matures in late teen or adulthood (some research I stumbled across yrs. ago). Some kids needs that extra time to be kids.Depression is a part of living same as laughter, and all the other human emotions, that's why we're human beings. Labelling is a terrible thing and more confusing for a kid to analyse. The best place for the child would be with loving, caring, understanding family members. Sometimes mediation is a good source of strength, it helps the young individual understand their purpose in this world. There has to be a source, or a reason for the feeling of uselessness, or a lack knowledge faced with an identity crisis.Each individual is unique and sometimes it takes a whole lot of effort to teach one to accept this life they've been given. Teenagers are people like us, we were there, we just need to remember Personally I'm not sure that drugs, prescription or not would be my first choice I see it as passing the buck. We only have to look at the stat. of recovery rate with medication intervention to make good choices but then again that's just me.Joy Kissoon
Reno says at 2017-10-26 11:00:01:
That's a posting full of intghis!
Joanna says at 2017-10-26 11:13:08:
I have seen my Psychiatrist for 5 years and I am not getting better with depression. Should I change and how to do so.

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