psychiatrist explaining medication to patient

Making the Most of Your Medication Management Appointment

If you’re taking psychiatric medications to manage an emotional or behavioral disorder, medication management services are vital. In these appointments, psychiatry professionals ensure that your medications are working for you properly. During these appointments, you have time to discuss your symptoms, side effects, and other issues with your doctor or nurse practitioner.

If your first medication management appointment is coming up, you may wonder what to expect and how to get what you need from the time with your provider. These tips can not only help you meet those goals, but also keep you healthy.

List All Current Supplements and Medications

Like all medical providers, your psychiatrist or nurse practitioner will want to know what medications you take. Don’t spend your time with your doctor trying to remember the details they need in order to serve you best. Instead, walk in with a current list of everything you take.

This list should include your prescription medications, anything you take over-the-counter regularly, and supplements you use. If you’re not sure whether to include it, go ahead and write it down. Make sure to include dosages and when you take it as well.

It may feel like overkill, but every piece of information helps your provider. Psychiatric medicine takes a delicate balance, so small details are important. Furthermore, they may be able to suggest moving the time of day on some medications in order to lessen side effects, if necessary.

Make a List of Questions and Ask Them All

It is normal and natural to have questions about your psychiatric medications. These prescriptions are likely different than anything you have taken before, so questions are bound to come up. However, once you get into your appointment, it’s easy to forget what you wanted to ask.

Avoid this issue by writing down your questions as they come up between appointments, then bring the list to your medication management appointment. Some questions you may have include:

  • Will this side effect go away?
  • Will I need to be on this forever?
  • Is this medication habit-forming?
  • Why aren’t my symptoms improving yet?

Remember that your provider is there to help you, and no question is “dumb” or insignificant. It’s their job to help you understand your health, and they are happy to do it.

Be Open and Honest with Your Provider

Talking to a doctor about your health may always be nerve-wracking, but it can be particularly scary when psychiatry is involved. The sensitive nature of the underlying conditions and lingering stigmas about psychiatry can make patients feel uncomfortable. However, it’s important to push through these feelings and be honest with your provider.

Psychiatric providers have to ask many personal questions in order to do their jobs best. They may ask about recreational drugs, alcohol, thoughts of self-harm, and other deeply personal issues. Patients must know that their providers are not there to pass judgment based on these answers–they are there to help. At LifeStance Health, our compassionate providers will do everything they can to make you feel at ease.

But psychiatrists and nurse practitioners help most when patients are honest. Honesty in this situation helps keep you safe. Remember that everything you say is subject to privacy regulations, such as HIPAA. You may also consider scheduling some time for self-care after your medication management appointment, since you may have to open up about difficult topics.

If you want help from caring psychiatric professionals, contact LifeStance Health today. We are happy to answer any questions you have and adequately prepare you for any psychiatric appointments you need.

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