I have asked Rachel Holzhauer, PA-C owner of Carolina Complete Psychiatry, a psychiatric medication management office to be a guest blogger today. When working with clients I have found it helpful in some situations for clients to have a medication evaluation so that medication services can be used in adjunct with our therapy services to help clients best reach their goals. Below Rachel has provided some excellent information in terms of what to expect once you have
been referred for medication management services.
"Meeting with a psychiatric provider for the first time is similar to meeting with a therapist, but with a few differences. Prior to your appointment, you'll likely have a packet of paperwork to complete. Being as detailed as you can on that paperwork will ultimately be helpful for your provider, so take your time in completing it. During your appointment, which may be anywhere from 60-90 minutes long, your provider will go over why you are here, review the information you provided in your paperwork, and your health history. Your general health history is important since you may be prescribed medications, so it's important for your provider to know what other medications you take and why. Most importantly, you will be asked a lot about the symptoms you are experiencing recently and that you've had in the past. For your provider to have an accurate diagnosis, it's important to know what kind of symptoms you've had, currently have, and about your past psychiatric treatment. Once your provider has a greater understanding about what has been bothering you, they will let you know what, if any, diagnosis they are giving you. From there, they will talk about treatment options with you. Treatment options include things from lifestyle modification, like changing your eating or sleeping habits, to recommending therapy, to prescribing medications. If they feel you would benefit from a medication, they will review your medication options, the risk and benefits of medication, side effects, and how to take your medication. This can be a lot of information to cover, so sometimes providers will have you come back for additional appointments, but this varies by provider. Once you've agreed upon a treatment plan, your provider will have you return to the office in about a month to discuss how you've progressed. These appointments are shorter in length, typically between 15-30 minutes, and cover a lot of information. You may be asked to come back for follow-up appointments every 1-3 months, but this depends on how you are doing and what medications are being adjusted. It's important that you keep these appointments so that your provider can monitor what effects the medications are having for you. It is also important that you keep attending therapy appointments if that has been recommended for you. Therapy and medication management appointments are not interchangeable and both provide different benefits. While you likely won't see your psychiatric provider as frequently as your therapist, know that they are both an important part of your treatment team. Your provider welcomes you to let them know how you are doing or if you're having problems with medications. Before you change or stop your medications, reach out to your provider to let them know what is going on. You've entrusted us with your care and we are happy to help you with any problems that arise along the way". Rachel Holzhauer, PA-C