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Questions to Ask a New Psychiatrist

Part of the Schizophrenia For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When searching for a psychiatrist for a loved one with schizophrenia, choose carefully. The psychiatrist is key to the management of your loved one's schizophrenia, so you need to find out some essential information before the initial meeting with the doctor. Ask the psychiatrist the following questions:

  • How much do you charge per visit?

  • Do you accept my loved one's insurance?

  • Do you have a sliding scale (reduced fees for low-income individuals without insurance)?

  • What are your hours and what emergency coverage do you have off-hours?

  • How much experience do you have treating people with schizophrenia?

  • Optional: Do you have experience treating people who abuse drugs or alcohol?

  • What is your orientation? Will you be emphasizing medication management? Supportive therapy focused on problem solving? Helping my loved one learn new thinking skills?

  • What are your policies regarding communicating with friends or family members?

After your loved one has met with the psychiatrist for an evaluation, ask the following questions:

  • What's my loved one's diagnosis? What will you be treating her for?

  • What will my loved one's plan of treatment be?

  • What medication(s) will you prescribe? What are their potential risks or side effects?

  • What are the risks if my loved one is not treated?

  • How will you coordinate my loved one's care with other health and mental-health providers?

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