What does a psychiatrist usually do during the first appointment?

The first appointment procedure differs from doctor to doctor, but here’s a very general rundown of what you might expect from a good evaluation. Many psychiatrists will ask you to complete paperwork before the appointment, which may include filling out psychological tests and scales. Then expect to spend twenty to fifty minutes with the doctor telling him about yourself, your depression, and what led up to it. The psychiatrist will probably ask you some follow-up questions and then give you his diagnostic impression. Ideally, you’ll discuss the various treatment options that the doctor thinks might be useful for you, including their benefits and risks. If you both agree on a treatment plan, you’ll likely leave the office with a prescription and/or an agreement to do psychotherapy. If you need more time to come up with a mutually satisfactory plan, you’ll schedule another appointment.

In the first few sessions, it’s a good idea to make a list of the ways that your depression is keeping you from getting what you want in your life. During subsequent meetings, you can discuss your progress and improve the treatment.