Frequently Asked Questions
First Visit Procedure Description:Initial Psychiatric Evaluation
What To Expect:Dr Vaché usually schedules a 90 minute first visit. The visit will include an interview about your medical history, psychiatric history, use of drugs and alcohol, family background, education, and work history. She also considers it very important that you bring in a close friend or relative who can give another perspective about you and who can support you in getting better. Sleep studies, hormone and vitamin testing, and other lab work may be recommended.
More about our care philosophy It's not easy to see a psychiatrist for the first time: there are myths, preconceptions, and stigma to overcome. It may take a lot of unhappiness and a considerable degree of courage to make the first appointment. But once you have called our office you will find that we operate like most other medical offices. Vicki, the practice manager, will do everything she can to answer your questions and make an appointment that is convenient for you. Once you are here you will answer many of the same questions other doctors ask, about your health history, your habits, and your symptoms. Treatment plans will probably include medication and a recommendation for psychotherapy or support groups.
What may be different from other psychiatric visits, especially if you have complex and chronic health problems, is an increasing emphasis on "functional medicine." This is defined the the "Textbook of Functional Medicine" as: "focus on restoring balance to the dysfunctional systems by strengthening the fundamental physiological process that underlie them, and by adjusting the environmental inputs that nurture or impair them."
This means that, if you want to address your health from a wholistic perspective, there will be questions, tests, and interventions to optimize hormones and neurotransmitters (nervous system chemicals) and to improve musculoskeletal, immune, digestive, and inflammatory conditions. There will be an emphasis on lifestyle (exercise, diet, smoking, sleep, alcohol and caffeine use), on stress reduction, on developing a supportive community, and on addressing long-standing conflicts and grief.
As you can see, you will have to be an active partner in the process -- helping to uncover hidden contributors to illness, and taking on the job of improving habits and ways of thinking about your health. Here are two places to learn more:
http://www.functionalmedicine.org/content_management/files/2_Working%20With%20a%20Functional%20Medicine%20Practitioner.pdf Staff Information Vicki Hernandez, Practice Manager