My first appointment with a new psychiatrist is in a few hours. I have PTSD>anxiety>GAD>SAD>insomnia, diagnosed multiple times. I will be 59 years old 10/25/16, and I cannot do it alone anymore. It is too much. My worst years, PTSD speaking, were from 1969-1977, when my father's quite real threats to shot me and my Mom, and say we attacked him (he was a Newark NJ cop) and his alcoholic outbursts directed at me age 10, and my Mom, were at their worst. We finally got out in 73, with the clothes on our backs. I still cry when I think about how I left my German Shepherd with that *******. After highschool, 11/77, I found out I had severely metastized testicular, which 2 surgeries and 2 horrible years of very harsh chemo did the trick. But to what purpose? So I can be hyper-vigilant, have a stiff, tense neck, clenched jaw, headaches,as well as insomnia? Again I ask, for what was all that suffering? Hopefully this Dr. will give me a very well thought out, logical (my IQ is pretty high, bs will not be tolerated). My intention is to be as open and honest as I have ever been with a doc. I even wrote a 3 page (summarizing the worst 10 years). My oncologist told me that studies showed that patients who had gone through my cancer regime had the same PTSD profile as Vietnam POWs. Lot of fun there! I will let you know how it goes.
Here's my thoughts from my experience. The best person to diagnose you is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. The reason is two-fold: psychologists study more psychology than any other health professional (and are usually the ones teaching the psychiatrists, who only take a short course in psychology along with a course in psychopharmacology). In today's world, most psychiatrists do not do therapy anymore; they just prescribe medication, so that's usually why you go to them. But in order to prescribe, they need to make a diagnosis, and often they just aren't very good at this part of it. They're really mostly trained by pharmaceutical company representatives, and they're main job is to match your symptoms with medication. Even if you've decided you do need meds, I just think you're on stronger footing to make a decision about the quality of your psychiatrist if you've already been diagnosed and treated by a psychologist. That may have happened, since you said you've been diagnosed multiple times, but I just wanted to say what I've been through -- I'm 63 and been through the mill for years now. The second major thing to do is to make sure you grill your psychiatrist, not just the other way around, so you can determine if you have one with a great respect for the power of these meds and how much care it takes to put you on them and take them off them. Most psychiatrists are hacks, especially the ones, unfortunately, who accept insurance. The best ones stopped taking it long ago. Same with psychologists -- you want one who has expertise in anxiety treatment and who is really good and will work hard for you, not someone who will just sit back and shoot the bull with you. What you don't want is someone who is just phoning it in and cashing the checks. In other words, no different than any other profession -- have the same skepticism and the same alertness to quality you have when you hire a plumber. Good luck.
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