If you are referred to a mental health specialist, there are important questions you need to be ready to ask. It's always best to go prepared because during the consultation, you may be nervous and forget to mention something that concerns you. It's quite natural to feel this way, especially in the early stages of being diagnosed.
But thankfully, the professionals dealing with these issues are very understanding and will always be ready and willing to answer anything that may concern you. So don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand, or need further clarification. Whatever you want to ask, however trivial you may think it to be, they won't mind a bit.
At first, when you suspect that you may have a problem, the best thing to do is write down all the symptoms you think you may have, such as:
- feeling down all the time
- not wanting to socialize
- loss of appetite
By doing this, it will help your mental health specialist to recommend a course of treatment for you. As I have already said, being nervous may make you forget something important. Seeking help from a professional about mental health issues is one of the things that people (especially men) are reluctant to do anyway.
So what questions should you be asking?
- What treatments are available? There are three main options at this stage that the specialist would probably advise on - talk therapy, medication, or a combination of both. You will more than likely decide together which one to follow first, and it may be that you will change treatments later depending on the results you have, successful or not.
- What possible side effects do the medications have? Prescribed drugs have different effects on different people, so it will really be a case of try it and see. If you experience any side effects at all, however minor, it's always best to consult your own doctor or mental health specialist.
- How will my illness affect me? It's important to know what to expect in the future weeks and months, especially if you have only recently begun to feel unwell.
- When will I feel better again? This will depend on what type of illness you have and how well you respond to treatment.
- What exactly am I suffering from? Your mental health specialist will have all the knowledge to explain to you what type of illness you have, and what will be required to get you well again.
These are just the tip of the iceberg, but they're a good starting point. The more you know and understand about your health problem, the quicker and better your recovery should be, so ask questions and make sure you get answers that will benefit you. Professional mental health specialist have the training, compassion and expertise to get you through your illness, and are there to help in any way they can.
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