What to do if your clinical psychiatrist is inconsistent or biased in his or her approach in your psychological evaluation for mental illness? Turns out there is a lot you can do in those types of situations.
A psychiatrist is a physician is basically someone who specializes in psychiatry. A psychiatrist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who must evaluate patients to determine whether or not their symptoms are the result of a physical illness, a combination of physical and mental, or a strictly psychiatric one.
Remember as a patient with SMI (“Serious Mental Illness”) you absolutely depend on an accurate and complete diagnosis of your condition so you can seek out the proper treatment in your own recovery.
But if you run into a situation where a clinical psychiatrist discounts what you have to say, cuts you off abruptly during conversations, is otherwise rude to you – you may have a really serious problem on your hands.
One that may require corrective action on your part to remedy.
In my particular case a psychiatrist, at my clinic (Capitol Center – People of Color Network) who really doesn’t know me, made certain assumptions in my case which are incorrect.
For example I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related to combat training in the military. I have had this condition for years. So imagine my surprise when this psychiatrist stated to me “You don’t have PTSD and tried to argue with me about that?”
First off – how does he know this just by meeting you for 30 minutes or one hour and spent most of that time disagreeing with you and cutting you off in conversation?
Well he really doesn’t know – but you can’t tell him them in many cases because they might take offense at you. Which is precisely what happened in my case.
Another problem is this particular psychiatrist is well respected at my clinic.
So disagreeing with him can pose serious problems that could negatively impact your care and treatment
Under such conditions most SMI patients choose to remain silent out of fear of getting into trouble.
Watch out for warning signs!
You can tell you may have a problem if your psychiatrist frequently interrupts you, or discounts what you say entirely or in part. Another warning sign is he doesn’t listen to what you have to say.
In such cases you may have to assert your rights to request another evaluation from a different doctor or clinical psychiatrist – preferably one outside your clinic or provider network.
You should also make a formal request in writing for a copy of that particular psychiatrist’s evaluation or re-evaluation so you can personally review that information and make sure it is accurate and properly notes your mental illnesses.
Next you have the right to complain to your clinic and your RHBA (Regional Behavioral Health Authority) about the treatment or care you receive from that doctor.
Next you have to document your reasons for disagreement in such a way as it is perfectly clear and easily understood. Preferable on one page.
Next you must decide if you should report the psychiatrist to a professional oversight board such as the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners (website http://www.psychboard.az.gov/).
Next you may wish to seek out professional legal advice from community legal services in your state to protect your rights and access to mental health services.
This may be difficult, I know – but it must be done especially if you are unable to resolve the issue at the clinic or provider level.