Choosing a psychiatrist is one of the most important steps in the DMDD journey. Here are some tips to make the process easier.
1. Get Referrals
Start with a referral list of potential psychiatrists from your primary care doctor. You can add to this list by asking family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience. You'll discover that there are many different types of psychiatric practices and clinical subspecialties. As you narrow down your list, call each psychiatrist’s office to make a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor. For additional resources on finding psychiatric treatment, click here.
2. Research the Psychiatrist’s Credentials
Board certification is one of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing a psychiatrist. It tells you that the doctor has the necessary training, skills and experience to provide healthcare in psychiatry. Also confirm that the psychiatrist has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You can find the psychiatrist’s medical school, training hospital, certifications, and malpractice and disciplinary history on Healthgrades.com and state websites.
3. Consider the Psychiatrist’s Experience
When you’re facing mental health issues, experience matters. The more experience a psychiatrist has with pediatric mood disorders, the better your results are likely to be. Ask how many patients with pediatric mood disorders the psychiatrist has treated. If you are looking for a specific treatment plan, ask how many patients the doctor has treated with that plan and their outcomes.
4. Consider Gender
If your child will also receive therapy from the psychiatrist, it’s important they feel comfortable openly discussing personal information. The gender of the psychiatrist may play a role in how comfortable they feel.
5. Research Hospital Quality
Your doctor’s hospital is your hospital. Therefore, you also need to consider the quality of care at the hospital where the psychiatrist can provide care. Hospital quality matters to you because patients at top-rated hospitals have fewer complications and better care. Additionally, consider whether the hospital’s location is important to you. Should you need to go the hospital for tests or treatment, you want the location to encourage, rather than discourage timely care.
6. Evaluate Communication Style
Choose a psychiatrist with whom you are comfortable talking and who supports your information needs. When you first meet the psychiatrist, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can understand? Trust your instincts. Therapy can take months or years and you will need to build a relationship of mutual trust. Find a psychiatrist who shows an interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will respect your decision-making process.
7. Review Patient Satisfaction Surveys
Reading what other people have to say about a doctor can provide insight into how a doctor practices medicine, as well as how his or her medical practice is operated. Patient satisfaction surveys typically ask people about their experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn about how well patients trust the doctor, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions.
8. Know What Your Insurance Covers
Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you may need to choose a psychiatrist who participates in your plan. You should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality as you select a psychiatrist from your plan.