We Accept Insurance!
Categories
Blog

6 Brain Healthy Tips for Your 4th of July Celebration

6 Brain Healthy Tips for Your 4th of July Celebration

July 4, 2022

Independence Day is upon us, with hot sunshine and loved ones gathered with games to play. Between family barbecues, watermelon galore and smores over the campfire, each year in the United States we spend around $6.7 billion dollars on our midsummer feast. 

 

But amidst all this celebration is a tricky detail we’re liable to forget: what we eat! Burgers, beers, brownies, queso dip, chips, hot dogs on hot dogs – the indulgence is never ending and can lead to feeling physically and mentally slow the following days. According to an article by Harvard Health, a diet high in refined sugars has been shown in multiple studies to not only impair brain function, but also aggravate symptoms of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.So, here are a few tips to help you keep your mind and body working their best: 

 

  1. Veggies + dips = success – Whether you enjoy hummus, ranch, or guacamole, pair it with some carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices and you’ll have healthy fiber-packed options to keep bellies happy and energized. Want to up your health game even further? Check out this simple recipe for a healthy, probiotic packed veggie dip!
  2. Impress with a charcuterie board – Maybe veggies and dip is a bit basic for you. Why not try a charcuterie board? Centered around cured meats and cheeses, charcuterie boards often include other interesting, savory food items like fruits, vegetables, jams, and crackers. Whole wheats and healthy fats are great brain food, while charcuterie boards help ensure your party is one people will remember! 
  3. Know how food affects you and what to avoid – Here’s a quick list of foods that are most harmful to your mental and physical health: 
    • Soda and sugary drinks full of excess sugar contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, and long-term problems with brain function 
    • Diet sodas rich in aspartame and other fake sugars are linked to cognitive and behavioral health issues 
    • Refined carbohydrates found in white bread, pastries, and other sugary desserts have high glycemic loads that spike blood pressure, increase obesity risk, and are correlated with lowered brain function over time   
    • Trans fats packed into junk foods, frosting, ready-made cakes, and pre-packaged cookies are tied to increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory issues 
    • Alcohol is widely known for next-day effects like hangovers and stomach problems, but can also affect sleep quality or leave you with general brain fog 
  1. Tell family and friends about your goals – If you are focused on eating well as you celebrate, tell your family and friends. They may want to join you, but if not, it’s important they’re aware you aim to eat healthy so they respect your boundaries and avoid tempting you with unhealthier options. 
  2. If you’re tempted to eat more, take a break – If you’re fighting the temptation to eat unhealthy food or eat more than you normally do, take some time to yourself to check in with your body. Maybe it’s a quick walk around the neighborhood or time alone in your car. 
  3. Indulge with moderation – Sometimes the day isn’t complete without holiday staples. If a 4th of July without a cheeseburger or beer feels wrong, you don’t have to hold yourself back from those things, just enjoy in moderation. Try changing your portion to something smaller so you can have your cake and eat it too – go with half a cheeseburger or just one drink.

Looking for help as you learn what foods are right for you on your path to improved mental health? Heading Health offers science-based nutritional therapy focused on high-quality, nutrient-dense foods that provide the key vitamins and minerals needed to heal your body and the brain from the inside out. Learn more about nutritional therapy and request your appointment by giving us a call at 855-204-2502.

Happy Independence Day from Heading Health!

Categories
Blog

LGBTQIA Mental Health Struggles & How to Help

LGBTQIA Mental Health Struggles & How to Help

By Corbin Blevins

June 30, 2022

Throughout history, society has widely disregarded mental health. For those struggling with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, this has been an incredible struggle, as frequently we are told to just “suck it up”, “have a positive attitude” or “put on a happy face”. Fortunately, over the last few years, mental health (and with it mental healthcare) has become less stigmatized. It is becoming more acceptable to reach out for help and new treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Spravato are becoming more commonplace. 

However, for many in the LGBTQIA+ community, their journey to be accepted for their truest selves is perceived as attention-seeking. Those who choose to pursue gender-affirming counseling, gay-friendly providers, or surgeries to reflect who they are can receive severe backlash and rejection from those close to them.

Because of this, suicide rates are at an all-time high among transgender youth. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and non-binary individuals frequently report feelings of hopelessness and anxiety as they struggle to find providers, friends, and family who truly love and support them. 

So what can be done to help provide a more mentally healthy society for the LGBTQIA+ community?  Whether you identify as part of the community or not, here are three simple things you can do to support positive mental health for all.

  • Pay attention- if you see someone who seems to be struggling, ask how they are doing.
  • Truly listen- when someone opens up to you, take the time to hear what they have to say and recognize how they are feeling
  • Express love- remember that everyone deserves to feel safe to be themselves. Whether you agree with their personal decisions or not, let them know that you care about them and will continue to be there for them. 

Lastly, if you see someone who is truly struggling, don’t be afraid to help them build a better support system. If you’re worried that they might be suicidal, ask them. This can help them know you are a safe place to talk, and doesn’t increase the risk of suicidal actions. Whether they are suicidal or not, there are many phenomenal outreach programs and LGBTQIA+ friendly providers are becoming available. If you feel comfortable, offer to help them find allies in the mental health community. 

Everyone deserves to feel safe within themselves, and at Heading, our goal is to provide safe, non-judgmental, accessible mental healthcare to all. We accept most insurance and have diverse staff from all walks of life to help ensure we can provide the highest-quality care to people from all walks of life.

As an LGBTQIA+ safe space, we invite all who are searching for allies to reach out to us. We are here for you, and we love you. You deserve happiness, and we would be honored to be your partner in finding it. Whether you are searching for help for yourself or for a loved one, please give us a call at 855-204-2502.

Categories
Blog

Celebrating Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth

By Teressa Carter, MSW, LCSW

June 20, 2022

Across the United States of America, millions of Americans young and old take great pride in living here and celebrating freedom every on Independence Day. Juicy watermelon, delicious barbecue, and vibrant fireworks fill the sky across the country as we celebrate living in the aptly named “land of the free”. However, not everyone gained true freedom that day.

 

Juneteenth, which is short for “June Nineteenth” is the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. This event occurred two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and almost 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Texas was the last state to set all enslaved persons free, and on June 17, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday honoring the end to slavery in the United States.

 

As you can imagine, this holiday holds great meaning to many- both in mind and in heart. Holidays and celebrations such as this hold the key to reminding us how far we have come as a nation, and that all people are deserving of love and respect. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of the end of physical enslavement, but a celebration of diversity and individuality.

So as we celebrate this Juneteenth, we invite you to take a deeper look and allow yourself the space to embrace not just who you are today, but who you have been and who you hope to be. Holidays like Juneteenth teach us resiliency, determination, healing, and the importance of recognizing the value in everyone, including ourselves. Self-love begins with recognizing our own needs, so here are a few small ways you can honor your own value during this holiday and throughout the rest of the year.

  1. Set boundaries
    Remember, nobody can take care of you as well as you can. Give yourself permission to speak up if you don’t want to cook the pot roast, feel too tired to go to the zoo, or just need some alone time.
  2. Set goals
    While hearing the term “goal setting” can feel overwhelming at times, goals can be anything: whether it’s taking a candy-making course with your mother-in-law, changing the oil on the car, or spending an hour a week reading a good book. Ask yourself, “What would make me feel more satisfied with my life right now?”, “What would bring me greater peace?”, or even something like “What would make my day feel more enjoyable?” and follow through!
  3. Talk with someone who cares
    Whether it’s a friend, family member or therapist, choosing to spend time in an environment where you can be your authentic self and feel accepted and valued is one of the greatest forms of self-care. Talk about whatever is on your mind- anything from frustrations to successes, and anything in between! If you don’t have a place where you feel accepted and loved for who you are, spend some time looking for one. Therapy is a great place to start!

This Juneteenth let’s take the opportunity to celebrate our resiliency and recognize our own value. If you are searching for a place to start your own mental or emotional healing journey, we have worked hard here at Heading to create a safe and diverse environment to allow you to honor your individual path. We’d love for you to give us a call at 855-204-2502 to learn more about the services and support we offer, or how to find a mental healthcare partner that’s right for you.

Categories
Blog

Maintaining Mental Health During the Work Day

Maintaining Mental Health During the Work Day

Tips on combating stress

May 5, 2022

The pandemic catapulted many of us into a new arena with work, work from home. At first, the sweatpants dress code for Zoom calls felt luxurious, and a midday nap and fun lunchtime snack felt exciting…but almost 3 years later the allure of working from home seems a little less enthralling. Earlier this year, Deloitte published a survey that illustrates how this societal shift is impacting mental health.

  • 69% of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home.
  • 48% of workers say they lack emotional support at work to help them manage this daunting task.
  • 65% of surveyed remote workers also reported working more hours than they had while working in the office.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents agree that workplace stress affects their mental health, leading to depression or anxiety.

No matter where or when you’re working, it’s important to maintain a healthy work atmosphere and cultivate positive mental health. So, here are a few simple things you can implement during your workweek that can help you stay mentally healthy.

  • Try the 90/20 method: If your employer offers some flexibility in your schedule during the workday, you can try implementing a cyclical work-break schedule to keep you fresh and clear-headed. One method that has been shown to positively impact productivity and aid in feeling centered is the 90/20 method. In this method, you work fully focused with no breaks or distractions for 90 minutes, then take a 20-minute break. During this break, you may want to engage in a mindfulness meditation exercise or fix yourself a nourishing snack. 
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of maintaining your mental health, but this simple change can make a world of difference. A study in 2018 illustrated that individuals who drank less water were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, while individuals who drank ample water throughout the day were more likely to be emotionally balanced and mentally engaged. Another study in 2014 showed that hydrated individuals were able to maintain calm, feel less overwhelmed, and feel more satisfied with life overall. Learn more about the importance of hydration for mental health on our blog.
  • Ask for help: It can be overwhelming at times with a demanding work schedule to juggle the other aspects of our life that require time and attention, so when you can, ask for and accept help. Remember, just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
  • Boundaries- Many employees have noted an increased amount of work and hours since the start of the pandemic. Give yourself permission to be open with your team and manager about what your work hours are, what workload you have the bandwidth for, and be comfortable saying no when you have hit your limit.

While these are just a few of the many ways you can help balance your personal self-care with your work life, there are many ways to combat work stress. If you are interested in gaining additional support in your personal mental health journey, we are here for you. Please give us a call at 855-204-2502.

Categories
Blog

The Custom-Made Care Plan

The Custom-Made Care Plan

March 11, 2022

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 20 percent of adults or 46.6 million Americans have a mental illness, 17 million of whom suffer from depression. While traditional talk therapy and medication management help many, an estimated 30% of these individuals are considered “treatment-resistant”, meaning they see little or no results from standard treatments. That is a massive number of people who are left with no clear path of how to heal and see relief from their struggles. 

The standard for mental healthcare for years has utilized an impersonal “try it and see if it works method”, even though nearly every other area of healthcare takes into account personal circumstances. For example, if a patient is diagnosed with high cholesterol, a doctor might prescribe a cholesterol-reducing medication, alongside lifestyle changes, healthy diet, exercise, etc. So when it comes to something as unique as our brain…why is the one size fits all approach still considered the standard?

At Heading, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to live their best life, and have built our practice around this premise.  We offer a holistic new model of care, which takes a multi-dimensional and personalized approach to treatment. At Heading, treatment plans are tailored to your needs and goals, integrating effective, cutting-edge treatments such as TMS, intramuscular ketamine, Spravato and nutritional therapy alongside mental health medications, psychotherapy and even nutritional therapy. 

As we grow, we hope that our personalized care model will take root as a new standard for  the mental health community. In the meantime, if you’re ready to invest in yourself, your mental health, and your future through a treatment plan fitted specifically to you, we invite you to give us a call at 855-204-2502 or contact us on our contact page to get started on your mental health journey today

Categories
Blog

Talk Therapy: What, Why, How

Talk Therapy: What, Why, How

March 5, 2022

It’s incredible how something as simple as talking, sharing our thoughts and feelings is such a powerful tool for self-liberation and healing. Many mental health treatment centers, including Heading, offer a well-known form of therapy known as “talk therapy” or psychotherapy. Talk therapy has a long-standing record of efficacy and  has become one of the most accepted and widely used treatments in the world of mental healthcare. Even as modern medicine and innovation has offered millions a wider array of available treatments to help improve their mind health, this form has continued to hold true in its overall effectiveness and versatility for treating mental illnesses and trauma from anxiety to suicidal ideation. Let’s quickly break down the back story of this age-old method, and how it can benefit you!

 

History: According to the American Psychiatric Association, talk therapy or psychotherapy is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Talk therapy can help increase self-awareness, allowing the individual in treatment to reduce troubling symptoms and develop strategies to improve overall quality of life. 

 

While the most widely accepted “birth of talk therapy” was in the 1800s, as far back as ancient Greece, philosophers like Aristotle began exploration into what would eventually become psychotherapy. As these philosophies emerged, some of the world’s earliest known physicians including Hippocrates, further explored the link between mental state and medicine. Flashing forward a thousand years or so, two names that are familiar to most Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud came together to investigate Breuer’s “talking cure” for nervous disorders and with that modern psychotherapy was born. 

 

While psychotherapy has evolved quite a bit from the Freudian images of people laying on a couch while sharing their feelings to a man behind a clipboard nodding along and asking probing questions, the essence of talk therapy as a powerful remedy for combatting depression, PTSD, or even OCD.

 

How does it work? Generally speaking, when a person enrolls in talk therapy, the  therapist or leading physician will ask several questions during the initial appointment, known as an intake to allow the therapist to gain a comprehensive understanding of a person’s history, background, present circumstances and state of mind. This allows the therapist to, collaboratively with the patient, decide on the best approach to treatment. Questions might focus on family history, past experiences, current coping skills, what they want to achieve out of therapy, etc. 

 

Talk Therapy goes with everything: While many individuals see medication and psychotherapy as opposing treatment options, they don’t have to be. Talk therapy can certainly be a stand alone treatment option but many studies have shown how, when  used in combination with another intervention such TMS, traditional medication management or ketamine infusions, the effects of both treatments can be enhanced and amplified further than either standalone treatment typically offers. 

 

If you are curious about talk therapy and the possibility of implementing it in your personal mental health journey, reach out to us by giving us a call at 512-777-2591 or visit us at headinghealth.com, or join us in our Q&A session next Thursday, March 10 at 6:00 pm CST on Facebook Live!

Categories
Blog

Mental Health(care) is for Everyone

Mental Health(care) is for Everyone

February 24, 2022

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty, stress, discomfort and periods of isolation has increased across the world. This increased stress has resulted in amplified waves of anxiety, exacerbated depression, and even increased OCD. What many individuals may not realize is that almost everyone struggles with their mental health at some points, not just those who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. This means that even those without a diagnosable mental illness can benefit from comprehensive mental healthcare and implementing positive coping strategies.


When we find ourselves in these moments of uncertainty, here are a few basic concepts to keep in mind:

 

  • Sharing really is caring: Talking about how we feel is powerful. In many circumstances, speaking to someone who cares about you or a mental health professional can help you to feel supported and less alone. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to sharing your emotions and thoughts, a good place to start is using simple statements such as, “today I feel…” or “when this happens it causes me to feel..”
  • Sleep is your friend: Prioritize a good night’s rest. It’s no secret we aren’t at our best cognitively when we haven’t made time for quality rest. Sleep and mental health are closely linked and frequently affect one another. While it may seem challenging to relax and fall asleep when we have a lot on our mind, things like sticking to a schedule for sleep and ensuring that at least 30 minutes prior you are reducing or eliminating distractions such as TV, phone time, or working on projects can help prepare your body for a much needed rest.
  • Move: Stay active. Physical activity is not only good for your body, it’s also great for your mind. With the increase of online activities over the last few years, it has become increasingly easy to lose sight of the importance of moving our bodies. Staying active can mean anything from taking part in a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout to doing some stretching or taking a quick 10-15 minute walk. As you consistently engage in even just a few minutes of physical activity per day, you will provide increased support to your mental well-being, effectively helping to combat stress, anxiety, depression, or anything else you may be struggling with.
  • Get help when you need: Talking to friends and family, sleeping well, eating well, and physical activity are strong steps that we can take to promote mental wellness. It is important to recognize however, that sometimes we need additional. Mental illness, just like any illness, sometimes requires the care of someone specially trained to treat it. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength and a way to show yourself compassion and self-love. Professionals such as therapists and psychiatrists are trained to help you find and implement the best strategies for your unique circumstances and will support you on your journey to recapture your highest quality of life.

To learn more or request an appointment with one of our providers, give us a call at 512-777-2591 or visit us at headinghealth.com.

Categories
Blog

Roses are Red, I Feel Blue

Roses are Red, I Feel Blue

Combatting Stress around Valentine’s Day

February 17, 2022

Hallmark’s holiday, heart shaped chocolates, flowers everywhere, table for 2 reservations, cupid’s bow, also known as Valentine’s Day. The holiday that was created to celebrate love has popularly also become known as “single awareness day” or just a day of dread for many whether or not they are in a relationship.


Let’s take a second to break down why there is such an unhappy feeling when it comes to the day of love. For starters, movies and TV shows and even Instagram feeds often display images of ‘love’ ‘romantic gestures’ or ‘happy couples’. This can make those of us on the other side of the screen question ourselves: if we are living up to that definition of love, if we are worthy of love, and even, for some of us, remind us of perceived failures- whether we are in a relationship or not. While love and romantic relationships are something to celebrate, such heavy saturation of media can also make us feel isolated and alone.

 

So how do you cope with Valentine’s day and its associated woes? Dealing with mental health challenges can be difficult, so we’ve compiled a few things you can do this year to make it a day filled with more joy (and less loathing).

 

“Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself.” ― Rupi Kaur

 

Love YOU

Single or not, we all can feel lonely. Sometimes when we are in a relationship and dealing with mental health challenges, we can feel isolated from our partner, or when we are single and dealing with those challenges, we can feel lonely as well. The holiday is about love, why not start with loving yourself, after all the relationship with yourself is the most important.

 

This year on Valentine’s Day, start off by writing down three things about yourself you love the most, remember and praise those qualities that truly make you special. And then indulge in some self- love. Make sure you take a few minutes that day for yourself, whether its going for a walk, reading a favorite book, taking a relaxing bath, treating yourself to your favorite food, etc. Honoring the love for yourself is a great way to celebrate the holiday, single or not.

 

Can we just talk: Communication is often something we forget is a powerful tool. Whether it is talking to your partner about the emotions you are feeling leading up to the holiday, or some friends who are also single, share your thoughts and feelings with the people who care about you. And then together, make a plan for how you want to spend the holiday or not celebrate at all. Managing expectations is an easy way to alleviate some holiday stress and anxiety.

Remember the Meaning: social media and pop culture might have dubbed this day as one to be filled with fanfare but the reality is it was truly designed just to take a moment to honor the ones we love, including yourself. Be proud of that love most of all and honor the progress you make each day on your journey.

So if you find yourself mid-scroll on Instagram feeling a little melancholy about the chocolate covered strawberries filling your feed, remember that you have people in life that are important to you, including yourself….and it is one day only so maybe pause on the social media till then, after all by February fifteenth the candies will all be half off at the store and it’s back to business as usual.

Categories
Blog

Just Add Water

Just Add Water

February 4, 2022

“Drink more water” we hear it everywhere, quoted on social media, designed on water bottles, a sign on the walls of gyms and spas, even the famous basketball star Steph Curry says, “drinking water is essential to a healthy lifestyle…”it seems simple enough, but does it merit all that exposure and hype?

 

The short answer is yes. While water is not a magical remedy to solve all the world’s problems, it certainly has the ability to improve our health both physically and mentally and make an impact on our day to day.

 

The Science

Our entire body needs water to function properly, in fact 70-80% of our brain tissue is made up of water which is why our levels of fluid and hydration can impact our mood. Research has shown a correlation between water intake and mental health. When we are dehydrated, we can increase the risk of anxiety and depression and experience other fluctuations like confusion and fatigue.

 

During the day we are constantly losing water through unavoidable bodily functions like breathing, sweating and urination. Meaning as much as we are losing, we have to replenish it to keep our body and mind’s equilibrium intact. A pair of studies published a few years back had researchers induce mild dehydration in their focus groups. The groups experienced fatigue as a result of dehydration and degraded moods and less ability to concentrate.

 

What can I do?

There is enough scientific evidence out there to prove the basic fact, our body needs water to function. So how can you make sure you are increasing your water intake throughout the day without having to devote tons of time and focus on it?

 

Start simple, here are some easy steps you can take each day to make sure you are giving your body what it needs.

 

Easy Access: make sure you have a water bottle with you that you can fill up throughout the day so whether it’s at work, in a class, in the car, at the gym or running errands you have the ability to fill up when needed. And to make it fun why not think about decking out your water bottle with a motivating quote or fun design to keep you motivated. Link here to some fun options

 

Gentle Reminders: Technology like our phones, smart watches, you name it has a way of keeping us notified throughout the day on our emails, texts, social media engagements, calendar invites you name it. We are being nudged about what needs our attention according to our phones so why not add in a notification that is helping our health. Add in a reminder on your phone throughout the day to check-in and remind you to take a sip or two.

 

Eat-up: Close to 20% of your water intake can come from food that you eat, so add in some delicious fruits and veggies that have a higher water content to help keep you hydrated and well fed. Some easy fruits and veggies to include can be strawberries, peaches, watermelon, cucumber, celery, zucchini, and lettuce.

 

Life can be full of challenges and dealing with mental health disorders like anxiety and depression can seem like another hurdle. The good news is that while you are on your journey to mental well-being there are simple things you can do each day to help you along the way, like just adding water.

 

Interested in other ways to improve your mental health? Reach out to us at Heading, our team is always available to talk and see what options are right for you.

Categories
Blog

What To Expect At Your First Psychiatrist Appointment

What To Expect At Your First Psychiatrist Appointment

January 28, 2022

telehealth-psychiatry-image

Whether it is over the phone or in person, seeking help for your mental health can be daunting if you do not know what to expect. This article will give you some useful pointers to empower you to work in collaboration with our psychiatrists on starting your journey to recovery.

 

1.  Come prepared

Before your appointment, it might be useful to take some time to think about the reason for your visit. What symptoms or struggles are impacting you the most? How and when did they start? If possible, keep a diary of your symptoms over a couple of weeks. This is helpful to monitor their frequency, intensity, identify a particular time of day, potential triggers, and things that make you feel better, etc. Sleep patterns, appetite, and weight fluctuations are equally valuable sources of information for your doctor.


It is also useful to gather some details about your childhood from your family, including your birth, your developmental milestones (at what age did you start walking, talking, etc.), your behavior as a child and how you did in school. Ask your relatives if there is a history of mental illness in your family – this may be a sensitive subject but can be relevant as you might be more susceptible to certain conditions.


If you have been referred by another healthcare provider, bring your consultation letters including previous diagnoses, treatments, and medications you have been on. Make sure to bring hospital discharge letters if you had previous admissions or inpatient treatment.

 

2.  What you are likely to talk about
If this is your first contact with a psychiatrist, the appointment is likely to take about an hour.


At first, your healthcare provider may give you the opportunity to talk freely about your presenting complaint. After that, you will be asked a series of more detailed questions on your childhood, education, family, current situation, medical history, etc. They might ask you questions on some of the more intimate aspects of your life, including relationships, sexuality, illicit drugs, or if you ever had trouble with the law. This enables your psychiatrist to make a 360° assessment of your mental health and how it affects you in your daily life. If you feel uncomfortable answering certain questions, do not hesitate to let your doctor know. Do not forget that professionals are bound by confidentiality and none of the information you disclose will be shared with your relatives or the authorities.


Depending on the reason for your visit, they might ask very detailed questions about treatments and therapies you have already tried, including over the counter and herbal or non-conventional treatments – did they help? What side effects did you suffer from? Why did you stop? This will allow your doctor to tailor his approach to give you the best chance of positive outcomes. Finally, give your psychiatrist any information that has not come up in questions, but you believe to be relevant to your circumstances – you know yourself best.

 

3.  Outcome of your consultation
For someone suffering from debilitating symptoms, getting to put a name on your illness might feel therapeutic. It enables you to give an identity to the enemy you are battling, and to connect with other individuals going through the same journey. However, it is important to understand that your provider might not be able to give you a diagnosis at the time of the first consultation. Many diagnostic criteria rely on temporality, i.e., length of time you have been suffering from symptoms, and sometimes a positive diagnosis can only be made retrospectively, many months down the line. Whilst this might be frustrating, it is paramount not to rush as being given a certain label can have long-lasting consequences in terms of treatment you will be offered or will not qualify for.


However, your psychiatrist might still be able to provide you with a working diagnosis or provisional diagnosis to allow treatment planning whilst waiting for all the diagnostic criteria to be filled.


Coming to the end of your consultation, you will make a plan in conjunction with your psychiatrist about how to go forward. You might be offered a combination of therapy, medication, and other treatments such as TMS or novel agents. Remember you are the main actor of your recovery, and the decision on what treatment modality you believe will suit your circumstances is ultimately yours, guided by the advice of your psychiatrist. They will explain in detail the modalities, side effects, and evidence behind every option, to allow you to make an informed decision. You might wish to take more time to read through patient leaflets, do your own research, or talk about it with your next of kin. Other things to discuss are the frequency of follow-ups and monitoring and making a contingency plan for you to refer to in case your mental health deteriorates, such as urgent helplines and contact numbers.

 

If you have further questions about scheduling with a psychiatrist, another mental health provider, or how to best prepare for your appointment, give us a call at 512-777-2591 and we would be happy to assist you.