Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?

Wow, I have had my share of psychiatrists throughout my mental illness journey, both as an inpatient and outpatient, beginning in 1994. I won’t list them all, simply the ones who stood out.  

#1-Dr. C. I’m convinced this man was 80, coughed his brains out with every visit, and actually asking “are you sure this is depression you have”? Hmmm…..He left me feeling desperate, confused and asking myself if I did have depression. I know I did, others doctors confirmed the diagnosis.  He was the only doctor available at the time so I was ‘stuck’ with him for a couple of years.

#2-Dr. D. He was the lead psychiatrist who was responsible for my care during the severest years of major depression and hospitalizations. Opting for quick visits while an inpatient, his attention appeared to be given to more youthful patients. Dr. D. was forever ready with a script pad for a refill or new medications and believed in the power of useless ECT’s.

I believe I was over-medicated or he’d either switch/increase/decrease meds so frequently without giving them a chance to see any changes or improvements. Phone calls were seldom returned for his over-booked outpatient clinic, two-four month follow-ups and a 4-minute appointment if lucky. Outcome: I fired him.

#3-Dr. H. I won’t go into specifics, but he proceeded into snooze land during our third session, woke up and said, “I guess our hour is up”!. I had to pay him also.  (All of his plants were dead inside his office, and that should have been a red flag).

#4 Dr. W. She was an odd duck, military trained and pro-ECT. The word narcissist describes her, the arrogant, snooty, and gruff manner which had me questioning why she was a psychiatrist in the first place. Thankful she wasn’t my therapist also, and a sigh of relief when she transferred to another city.

My current psychiatrist is excellent. Finally, a psychiatrist who is knowledgeable actually pays attention during my visits and is hesitant to issue or change meds. In fact, he eliminated numerous meds when I was first referred to him 3 years ago.  Another encouragement:  he actually smiles.

Sometimes you are hesitant to change doctors for insurance reasons, costs, or in certain cities, they are in short supply or have extensive waiting lists.

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy

Related articles:

Depression: Finding a Doctor or Therapist

How to Choose a Psychologist

How a Psychiatrist Treats Depression: A Peek Behind the Curtain (Huffington Post)

6 thoughts on “Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?

  1. So am ‘with you’ on this. Sheeeit, I’ve been through the bloody mill with them! Thankfully, I don’t pay here in the UK, but that’s little consolation, when they keep changing them, so every time you go to see your Psyc, a different one greets you! Then I had the brilliance of young asshole, who, obviously still wet behind the ears, just out of varsity, feeling VERY important, when writing the info of ME and my meds down, had the audacity and stupidity to put a ? mark next to my clearly diagnosed ‘Bipolar disorder!’ Imagine….after my husband issued strong complaint, I never saw said asshole again! It’s VERY frustrating, especially as we, who suffer, have trust issues to start with!

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    1. Very frustrating and annoying. The one pdoc (psychiatrist) used to have his script pad ready when I came in for my outpatient appointment and probably had it filled out before I sat in my seat! No wonder I never improved! It’s just give them the meds and shut ’em up. 🙂

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      1. It IS very frustrating and annoying, and yeah I hear you….they most probs have already written the ‘shut the patient up’ script, before we’ve even walked in the door. See my post ‘Dear Dr.’ I tried to cover how they behave there. Actually, I was referring to GP’S! but still …take care and have a super happy day 🙂

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  2. I have mainly gone to Psychologists, and I found most of them to be very helpful. I did see a couple of Psychiatrists who were very unhelpful. Lol It seems when you have the medical doctor degree along with psychology, it makes you dumber and unkind. But that was just my experience. I’m glad you finally found a good one.

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    1. For me, none of my psychiatrists were passable as psychologists, plus none of them gave me the impression they wanted to tackle the sexual abuse issue in depth. They are there for meds and only ask/comment on my therapy.

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