August 26, 2007

Are there any psychiatrists out there who actually talk to you?

Passing As Myself left a good comment on my last post when I was getting to the point of ranting about how hard it is to find a psychiatrist (this was following a previous post where I ranted about how we all need to get our anti-depressants from psychiatrists and not from other doctors who don't specialize in the brain). Here's what Passing As Myself said:

"I also wanted to point out that some psychiatrists can be even worse than getting meds from a PCP (primary care physician). Many are content to over-medicate and focus on the meds and not include any talk therapy. The best mental health care I ever got was from a psychologist. When I told her I thought I needed drugs, she talked over all the options with me and then called my PCP to ask her to write the scrip. Then she and I could focus our energy on cognitive-behavioral therapy. More than one psychiatrist has prescribed drugs to me without bothering to give me options or explain why they thought their pick was best."

I thought this was such a great point that I just had to post on it.... So I started out this thread of thought trying to express my frustration that there are so many women suffering from PPD who get anti-depressants from their gynecologists or internists, etc., when those doctors clearly do not specialize in the area of mental health and have no business trying to determine brain meds. or dosage levels. I've personally gotten myself in big trouble doing this when I took a new SSRI (that seriously screwed me up) that my gynecologist prescribed, then later found out she'd been receiving "gifts" from the pharma rep. that carried this SSRI.

Here, Passing As Myself has brought up the fact that if you're lucky enough to even find a practicing psychiatrist in your area who takes new patients (hopefully without a 3-6 month waiting list) and is actually covered by your insurance, you still may not receive the care that you need. I once went to a psychiatrist who was already writing out my prescription when we were less than 10 minutes into the consultation. He barely even made eye contact with me the entire time I was there, which lasted about 11 minutes. Crazy. I've since had a couple of good experiences with psychiatrists, so I haven't lost faith in them in general. The very best experience I've had has been with a psychiatric nurse practitioner who didn't simply write up a script; she listened and talked with me for an hour each time I went to see her. Isn't this how psychiatrists used to operate? Why is it that now they're just into prescribing meds?

Anyway, what Passing As Myself has found is a fantastic option when you aren't able to find a psychiatrist who will spend the time with you that you need and deserve. I'm so glad she shared her experience!!


Katherine Stone said...

This is a good discussion. There are so many different people women can see, and each has a widely varying amount of experience treating these disorders. It is so important to ask whoever your seeing how much experience they've had treating women with postpartum mood disorders. I actually prefer people who specialize in these disorders, even though they are few and far between. I actually maintain a list of the most experienced treatment centers/doctors on my blog.

I also had a bad experience with a psychiatrist who just kept prescribing me more and more medications. It definitely prevented me from getting better, and I suffered longer than I should have.

Kristin said...

Katherine, I just want to thank you again for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts on this topic!

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