How to Choose a Psychiatrist for a Teenager Daughter

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Depression is an illness that affects how your teen acts and behaves. She might also lose interest in activities she formerly enjoyed. Your teen might benefit from seeing a psychiatrist to address her problems. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats mental, emotional and behavioral problems. It is essential that the psychiatrist that your teenager daughter sees is one that fits her needs and uses effective treatment methods.

  • Check with your insurance company to obtain a list of local psychiatrists in the area. Some psychiatrists treat both children and adults, while others limit their practice to either adults or children. Ensure that the psychiatrist you choose for your teenage daughter accepts your insurance policy, since paying out-of-pocket can be expensive. Many counties have low-income mental health clinics for families that do not have medical insurance. Psychiatrists, unlike psychologists, can also prescribe medication, so you might also have to pay for prescriptions, as well.

  • Ask friends or family members if they have any recommendations or experiences with psychiatrists in the area. Word of mouth is powerful, and you can ask any friends or family who are patients of their impressions of the psychiatrist. Ask your daughter's pediatrician or the school nurse for any referral sources they have. Call the potential psychiatrists to get more information. Begin by asking if their office is currently accepting new patients, and give them some information about your daughter, such as her reason for seeking a psychiatrist, and her age. Each office will tell you about the services they offer so that you can determine if their office might be a good fit for your daughter.

  • Schedule an interview for you and your teenage daughter to meet with the psychiatrist or psychiatrists in the office. Ask about the therapeutic style of the psychiatrist. Some psychiatrists, particularly psychoanalysts, may ask your daughter about her dreams, and some psychiatrists may offer only quick prescription consults for depression or anxiety, for example, and will leave the actual psychotherapy to another mental health professional, such as a psychologist, who may do behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, or humanistic or holistic therapy.

  • Try the psychiatrist for a few weeks, to get a feel for the therapeutic relationship, and if you think if will work for your daughter. Your daughter might not feel comfortable with a certain individual, or you might discover that his methods are not what you or your daughter wants. If either you or your daughter would like to switch to another psychiatrist, then that is your right. You are not obligated to stay with a psychiatrist who does not seem to be a good fit for your daughter, or if your daughter, for whatever reason, wishes to change to a different psychiatrist.

  • Switch to a psychiatrist who is more like you and your family. Your daughter might prefer a female psychiatrist to a male psychiatrist, which is a valid reason for a change. Search for a psychiatrist of the same gender or similar educational background, or the same ethnic, cultural, linguistic or sexual orientation. Search for a psychiatrist who specializes in the issues you and your daughter feel are most important to her. If your daughter feels that you and your spouse do not let her have enough freedom, or if you and your spouse feel your daughter may be depressed, anxious or lonely, or if she lacks confidence, is socially isolated, eats too much (or too little), or is in trouble, then look for psychiatrists whose practice areas focus on these issues.

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