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So today was my first time seeing this new counselor and she suggested ("highly recommended") that I see a psychiatrist and get a psych eval. What exactly does a psych eval entail? I've seen numerous counselors over the years, but this would be my first psychiatrist and I'm a little nervous..

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Psychiatric evaluations can take many forms. Sometimes it is a 1 hour consultation with a psychiatrist. Sometimes, it involves more fancy things like personality tests. 

 

I have had both kinds of psychiatric evaluations. I had my first consultation with my pdoc that lasted an hour and she made some preliminary diagnoses and recommended medication. Basically, what that hour entailed was filling out forms (about my mental health history), and then the pdoc asking very specific or general questions about what brought me here today. I told my story of what brought me there (depression) and she asked lots of questions about my symptoms, and my life in general. Then, she diagnosed me and prescribed medication. This is what a typical psych eval looks like. 

 

The second kind of psych eval I had was conducted by two psychologists, when I was being tested for ADHD and mathematics disorder. I had to fill out several personality tests, the biggest one being the MMPI, perhaps you've heard of it? It's a 567 question personality inventory. They consulted with me after getting the results of my MMPI and concluded that I have periods of psychosis, depression, anxiety and I have ADHD. My diagnoses ended up being ADHD and mathematics disorder. As well, the psychologists said my tests basically confirmed my diagnosis of a psychotic disorder. I count this as psych eval, cause it was so in depth. 

 

So, those are my experiences with psych evals. 

 

Don't be too afraid to see the psychiatrist. :) If your tdoc thinks it's a good idea, it's probably a good idea. The usual function of pdocs is to diagnose and prescribe medication. Perhaps your tdoc thinks medication might help you, so she wants a pdoc to confirm that. You could ask your tdoc why she thinks it's a good idea. 

 

Some tips for when you see the pdoc:

 

BE HONEST. Be honest about your symptoms, what brought you here today and what causes you problems. Being honest is essential to allowing the pdoc to help you as best they can. 

 

Bring a list of your family history of mental illness. Pdoc's like to know this stuff. 

 

Bring any journals/blog posts/posts that might be able to explain your problems better than you can verbally, if you feel you have trouble explaining yourself verbally.

 

Did I say, be honest? Hehe.

Edited by Parapluie
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It could be a structured interview lasting about one hour. It could be an informal conversation about your past and present in all areas.  It could include coming back for tests or not.  The most important thing is to be honest about anything asked of you.  This is critical for you and your treatment - being honest.  Just be yourself also. Don't try to be any way other than yourself.  Bring any documents of past meds, past hospitalizations you may still have around. 

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Thanks everyone. I try to be as honest as possible, but I find it worrisome to say that I sometimes have thoughts of wanting to die. It doesn't necessarily mean I will go home and carry out the act, but I do often have those feelings and I don't want to be hospitalized because I feel that way. 

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My psychiatrist knows sometimes I have thoughts of killing myself, and has not hospitalized me.  Once when I didn't trust myself, I went to the hospital myself, but telling my pdoc that I have those thoughts doesn't mean that I am getting hospitalized, so don't worry about that.

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You state 'I just want to get better'.  This is half the battle.  Good for you.  As far as sometimes having thoughts of wanting to die it's part of the symptoms for many if not most mental illnesses.  They have heard this a million times.  You won't get dragged out and put in the back of an ambulance for giving an honest answer to questions.  You will be asked whatever type of evaluation if you are or have thought of suicide or self harm.  Just answer as you did in your post here.  The next question is almost always do you have a plan or a date and answer honestly. 

 

Work with the pdoc - psychiatrist - and whatever meds you get, give them an honest fair try and report any and all side effects to the pdoc.

 

If the evaluator is also going to be your pdoc this gives you a great opportunity to see his/her skills.

 

You'll do well with the eval. and remember that it's not a personal or moral judgement of you it's a medical examination of you.  Relax and don't worry about the eval. 

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You state 'I just want to get better'.  This is half the battle.  Good for you.  As far as sometimes having thoughts of wanting to die it's part of the symptoms for many if not most mental illnesses.  They have heard this a million times.  You won't get dragged out and put in the back of an ambulance for giving an honest answer to questions.  You will be asked whatever type of evaluation if you are or have thought of suicide or self harm.  Just answer as you did in your post here.  The next question is almost always do you have a plan or a date and answer honestly. 

 

Work with the pdoc - psychiatrist - and whatever meds you get, give them an honest fair try and report any and all side effects to the pdoc.

 

If the evaluator is also going to be your pdoc this gives you a great opportunity to see his/her skills.

 

You'll do well with the eval. and remember that it's not a personal or moral judgement of you it's a medical examination of you.  Relax and don't worry about the eval. 

Thank you so much, you made me feel a lot better :)

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I recently had thorough evaluation because I had sought a second opinion. I had two hour-long appointments where they asked me about all my history and symptoms. They also spoke to my CPN, and I gave them a series of blog posts I had made over a number of years that I thought showed the range of what I experience. 

 

I've done psychological tests in the past, but because I often lose insight the results can depend on my current episode. For instance the last one I did flagged me up as schizoid because I was deeply depressed and ticked, for instance, that I found little pleasure in things and had no interest in sex or relationships. That's the problem with any "snapshot".

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had the MMPI, one of the IQ tests that makes you solve physical puzzles. A conversation with a tdoc, some of those "If Mary can work Tues and Thurs and Jim can work mondays and saturdays, what's the schedule?" Then a conversation with a pdoc. I also had a short video eeg, because my dad theorized I had temporal lobe epilepsy.

 

In retrospect, they diagnosed agitated depression. I thought they meant I was both agitated and depressed, separately. Would we have handled this differently if it were considered a mixed episode? But I was BPII (one of my diagnoses) so I wasn't supposed to be able have them.

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