It takes tremendous strength, courage and motivation to ask for help. If you have never been to a psychiatric provider, it may surprise you to find that the first appointment at my office is very similar to appointments with other medical professionals. I start off by reminding you that everything we discuss is confidential, unless what you say is dangerous to you or someone else. I then explain that we will use the first visit as a consultation. We will discuss what brought you to my office and what you would like help with. Next I ask you a series of questions that help me get up to speed regarding their mental health, general health, and family history.
Although you might be concerned with a psychiatric/mental health concern, I always seek to rule out medical causes of your symptoms. Depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating can all be caused by medical problems such as thyroid disease, infections, medication side effects, hormone abnormalities, and many other treatable medical conditions. A proper diagnosis is necessary to develop an effective treatment plan.
How We Formulate a Treatment Plan
There are a number of medical and non-medical treatment options that I commonly use. Every patient is unique and comes with a history of treatment failures, treatment successes, and treatment options that have not been tried.
Psychotherapy vs Medication
Medications for the treatment of depression can take a week or two to take effect and up to another six to eight weeks to have maximal effect. Therefore, it is important to simultaneously employ the other treatments options. This is why I discuss psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and behavioral activation first. These treatment modalities can have significant positive effects on depression immediately and can serve as a bridge until medication can take full effect.