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Preparing for a Visit

Preparing for Doctor’s visits and Treatment Collaboration

It is important that treatment decisions be a collaborative process between the patient and/or his or her caregivers, his or her doctor, and in some cases, the entire recovery team.

It is ideal when the doctor and the person with the mental health condition truly communicate with each other. Collaboration with the doctor gives the patient an opportunity to say what’s on his or her mind about medication, side effects, personal recovery goals, and anything else that’s important. It also gives the doctor the opportunity to share the risks and benefits of treatment with the patient and those who care about him or her.

Before the appointment with the doctor, make a list of all the things to talk about. Loved ones, a social worker, or other members of the recovery team may be helpful in coming up with some of the questions if it seems too difficult to think of any.

Before making decisions about your treatment, get answers to any questions you have. Here are some possible questions to ask the doctor:

  • How does my medication help me?
  • In what form is my medication given (pill or injection)?
  • What is the name of my medication?
  • How often am I supposed to take it?
  • Does this medication have side effects?
  • What should I do if I have side effects?
  • It’s very important to be comfortable asking the doctor these questions and any others.
  • This is why having a trusted recovery team is important.

Remember, every person living with a mental health condition is an important member of the treatment team. Taking an active role in treatment decisions and collaborating with the doctor can be empowering.