Seeing a Psychiatrist for the First Time

November 14, 2018 Megan Rahm

Seeing a psychiatrist for the first time can be scary, but it is an important part of your recovery. Learn about seeing a psychiatrist for the first time at HealthyPlace.

Seeing a psychiatrist for the first time can be scary. But everyone around me knows that I'm very open about my experience receiving mental health treatment, so I talk about it. I work as an advocate for recovery. Many friends and family have asked me for insight when it comes to asking for help. I am always happy to provide encouragement and support, even if you're seeing a psychiatrist for the first time.

What to Expect When Seeing a Psychiatrist

Don't Give Up If Your First Appointment Doesn't Go Well

My husband's best friend recently sought help for depression, and unfortunately, seeing a psychiatrist for the first time was a negative experience. The doctor was cold and dismissive. He even took a phone call in the appointment, during which he scribbled down a prescription for my husband's friend and ushered him out of his office. Needless to say, this was very discouraging for someone first asking for help.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, and just like any other doctor, you are free to shop around and get a second opinion. You should feel comfortable with your psychiatrist, and the first doctor might not be the right fit. Don't give up. Keep trying.

My first appointment with a psychiatrist was shortly after being admitted to an eating disorder clinic, and like I've described in many of my articles, I had surrendered. At that point, there was nowhere to go but up, and I was willing to do everything I was told. For this reason, I probably wasn't as anxious as I normally would have been.

I was first diagnosed with bulimia and bipolar disorder. Then, later with my current psychiatrist, I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I am fortunate enough to have been seeing my current doctor for over 10 years. I think seeing the same doctor who really knows me on a regular basis has been a huge benefit to my recovery. I lived in a different town when I started seeing my psychiatrist. Now I live an hour away and continue to see him.

Your First Visit with a Psychiatrist Is an Interview

I know it can be anxiety-inducing when first seeing a psychiatrist, but know that it is simply an interview about your symptoms and lifestyle. Don't worry that any aspect of your life is strange. Psychiatrists hear everything, so chances are you're not going to shock them.

Don't Feel Bad if You Receive a Diagnosis and Start Medication

Don't feel bad if you receive a mental health diagnosis. Giving a name to your symptoms only validates your experience and shows there's a way to treat them.

Starting a psychiatric medication can also be scary, but why suffer if you don't have to? Taking medication is not a sign of weakness, and it might improve your functioning by reducing your symptoms. Don't get discouraged if the first medication doesn't work. Keep trying, and be open to other medications. Taking medication can be a trial-and-error process, but it's worth it when you find the right one.

Finding a Psychiatrist and Paying for Your Appointment

To find a psychiatrist, I suggest doing an online search for doctors in your area and reading their reviews. Of course, if you are in the US, first make sure they accept your insurance. If you can't afford your co-pay or to meet your deductible, search for a local community mental health agency. They may be able to help you financially by working out a payment plan or charging on a sliding scale. The community agency I worked for received funds through the county mental health board to help people pay for their services. They also had a pharmacy that would help people that couldn't afford their medications ("Free Mental Health Services and How to Find Them").

Asking for help and seeing a psychiatrist for the first time will kick-start your mental health recovery. Be open, honest, and know that your doctor is there to help you.

APA Reference
Rahm, M. (2018, November 14). Seeing a Psychiatrist for the First Time, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Megan Rahm

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Dr Musli Ferati
November, 22 2018 at 12:49 am

By all mean, the first visit to a psychiatrist is virtual and intrigued experience for any psychiatric patient. But, this remark didn't exclude the need to seek and find out a clinical psychiatrist, as medical expert on mindful treatment and management of mental disorder. On contrary, it ought to visit a clinical psychiatrist as soon as possible if you undergo suffering from any mental and behavioral difficulties. This recommendation is the best way to successful psychiatric treatment of any mental illness. Each prolongation of seeing a psychiatrist exhibit serious mistake for definitive course and outcome of respective mental disorder. However, it must require and choice purposefully any clinical psychiatrist who fulfills some personal, professional and economic features, which ones are in concordance with specific nature of respective mental disorder, which one torment pertain person. Another aspect to appropriate first visit to any clinical psychiatrist is socio-cultural background of both counterpart of psychiatric supplies: psychiatric patient and respective clinical psychiatrist. Nevertheless, these and many others impediments of first appointment with a psychiatrist shouldn't be the reason to delay or eventual abrogate on time psychiatrichelp for your mental illness.

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